Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Moral Monday

It's a movement

By Madison Kimrey

I’d heard about Moral Monday in the North Carolina news and on social media. A few Mondays passed before I had a chance to go. When I got there and rounded the corner by the legislative building in Raleigh, I was shocked. There were thousands of people there. The theme of that Monday was women’s rights, but there were people there for all kinds of reasons. It was like a rock concert for ideas.
    Some people might not understand how such a big thing happens. It doesn’t start big. How many people know that the Moral Monday movement actually began in April? It started with Reverend Barber and a few other ministers being arrested for their civil disobedience in protest of new laws being introduced in the Legislature. The next week, more people showed up. As the weeks went by, people were connecting on social media. They were talking about their experiences and how they felt about what’s been going on in our state. They started showing up. This is what led to me showing up and finding thousands of others when I got to my first Moral Monday.
    Some people might say that Moral Monday hasn’t succeeded so far because North Carolina still passed the laws people were standing up against. I disagree. After one of the Moral Monday events, I was talking to a group of people I had just met. They were talking about how even though things seem so bad in North Carolina right now, we feel good. We feel good because we know we aren’t alone. We feel good because we see other people willing to stand up to make our whole state a better place.
    The success of Moral Monday lies in the diversity of the people who participate. All these people don’t agree on everything. Even so, they come together. They draw strength from each other. It’s not about having 10,000 people show up. Ten people on a sidewalk can make a difference in this way. Those ten people can inform and inspire others to stand up. As Moral Monday starts moving around to different cities, the crowds won’t be as big. But as long as the general idea is there, the idea of a diverse group of people coming together and drawing strength from each other, each of these smaller Moral Mondays will be a success too.


It’s important to pay attention to some of the criticisms of Moral Monday, especially those from our Governor. He feels that Moral Monday is all about well-funded groups. He even dismissed me, a young citizen taking an active interest in my state, as a prop for liberal groups. The reason it’s important to pay attention is not because these sentiments are true (they aren’t), but because the real motive behind the remarks is to sow the seeds of division. The desired outcome is to get people to overlook the diversity.
    The Governor doesn’t want people to think of the demonstrators as their friends and neighbors, but wants people to lump all of the demonstrators into one big group. That way, it’s as easy for him to diss and dismiss thousands as it is for him to diss and dismiss me.
    Governor McCrory has said he doesn’t like the term “Moral Monday” because it implies one side is moral and the other side isn’t. The way he treats the ordinary citizens of his state, me included, doesn’t seem very moral. Perhaps if he tried to take some time to listen to and converse respectfully with the citizens he represents, his approval rating would be higher and he would have a better chance of being re-elected.
    Our success lies in the fact we are individuals with a wide variety of ideas, opinions, and positions. Bringing Moral Monday into our own communities is a way to continue to show this diversity and give people who want to run for office in our districts a chance to get to know about the things important to the people they will serve. It will give them a chance to come out and mingle with us if they want to get to know us. It will give people a chance to make new friends and connections in their own neighborhoods. It’s going to be important for people to continue to make connections so that when voting time comes, people can support getting the vote out in their local communities.
    The nation will be watching our elections to see what happens. If the same representatives get re-elected, some may try to write Moral Mondays off as a failure. I disagree. I’ll carry the words of Reverend Barber with me throughout the rest of my life: “This is not a moment. It’s a movement.” Big things don’t start big. Big things require us doing small things and continuing to do them without being discouraged. What we stand for is inclusiveness, not divisiveness. What we stand for is discourse, not dismissal. We will celebrate our successes together. We will turn to each other in dark times. We have already shown the nation this is what we will do, and we will keep doing it. The future of our state deserves no less.

[Madison has interviewed on Moristotle & Co. last Wednesday.]
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Copyright © 2013 by Madison Kimrey

Please comment

2 comments:

  1. Madison, I always feel very humble after reading anything you write. It has been many years since I have heard the bugle's call to battle, but your words have truly sounded that call. May those words be shouted from the mountain tops and burn in the hearts of all who hear them.

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  2. Madison, if you stay 1/2 as wise, I will call EMILY's List on your behalf, we NEED you in office....somewhere soon. Or, just train on to Congress now and explain how compromise is SUPPOSED to work. You clearly understand that, and most of them seem to not understand it.

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