Civil action as a family value

Arielle, Josh and Greg in Washington DC, 2002

The warm feelings shared today after the Women’s March, the world’s largest peaceful civil protest against government yesterday sparked a personal memory from 15 years ago.

On one of our earliest trips to Washington DC with Josh, 8 and Arielle 5, and friend Greg (above) we visited the White House. But we didn’t go on the usual tour. Instead we talked around to the back fence where there was a protest over the Iraq war. It’s a long walk around the White House fence and the protest area is far removed from the structure. We stood across the street and watched the protest. Some of the protesters were rowdy. I could tell that the kids were processing something that they had not experienced before. Grown-ups acting in a way they were not accustomed to seeing back in our demure professional community of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania.

Josh asked me “If they have something to tell the president then why do they have to be way out here when he is in there?” “That’s a really good question Josh. Do you think he will pay attention to them all the way up there”, I said pointing across the massive White House lawn. “I don’t know, will he?” Josh asked. “If they keep coming back every day, I think eventually he will”.

We’ve made many other trips to places with social or historic significance since then. We’ve been blessed as a family to have had many other conversations about important civic issues.

I am proud to say that Josh is now a law student at Temple University with an interest in Constitutional law. I understand that he is pursuing a clerkship with the US Attorney’s office or the Philadelphia District Attorney this summer.

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