A Joyful Noise

I’m just back from Lansing, where I joined several hundred people sending the message to the Michigan House of Representatives that government should not regulate our bodies and our medical choices.  When the time came to enter the legislative chamber, the stairs were clogged with pink-shirted advocates anxious to watch the proceedings as the representatives considered House bills 5711, 5712, and 5713, the omnibus package of anti-abortion laws.

The gallery must have filled, and many of us could not get in.  After 20 minutes or so, many people wandered around in the rotunda area on the second and third floors.  Soon, at least one hundred people, mostly young women, ringed the circular railings looking out into the open space.

Soon, clapping began and a rhythmic pounding of the handrails.  Then, with vibrant energy and the persistent pounding, the voices sprang into a unison chant of “This is My House,” which carried on for at least five minutes without letting up.  Then another chant began, “My Body, My Choice.”  The relentless pounding continued and people emerged from offices to snap pictures with cell phones. 

Ten minutes passed and another chant, “We’ll Remember in November.”  The noise continued, never abating in intensity or volume.  Fifteen. then twenty minutes.  At first, I stood back watching the police to make sure that the disruption was not going to cause a violent reaction by security personnel.  But, it soon became clear that they had no intention of stopping the force of these voices.

Twenty-five minutes, then thirty and no let up.  By now I had joined in with “This is What Democracy Looks Like.”  I imagined that peoples’ hands must be getting numb by now, but they just kept going.

I found myself unable to stop smiling.  Feeling the amazing energy and passion of all these folk was a spiritual experience.

Whatever the politicians eventually end up doing, I hope so strongly that this joyful noise spreads across the state and across the country so that no amount of money and power can drown it out.

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