A night in jail


Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Seasons Greetings!

Last week a friend sent me a link to a piece by Harold Pollack in The Nation which put into words what many of us have been thinking – that the time is soon coming when writing checks and signing petitions won’t be enough. Getting out into the streets and engaging in civil disobedience may be what is required, regardless of our age.

Civil disobedience is as American as Henry David Thoreau, and one could even say it’s been an American tradition since the colonies tangled with King George II. Thoreau spent his night in jail on July 23rd, 1846 when the twenty-nine year-old abolitionist walked into town to accept his punishment for withholding taxes as a protest against slavery.

Our individual actions do make a difference. Rosa Parks, through the simple act of refusing to move to the back of a bus, kicked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Boycott was a turning point in building the Civil Rights movement. And the Civil Rights movement, in turn, inspired activists black and white – like the future U.S. Senator from Vermont pictured above being arrested.

In the face of what’s surely coming from the Trump administration – mass deportations, targeting of Muslims, even greater violations of civil liberties – should Americans dust off this tool of protest even if it means spending a night in jail?

According to Thoreau it’s our duty.

Have a wonderful holiday – and a disobedient New Year.