Marching at the Families Belong Together Rally in Lewiston June 30 and listening to speakers gave me energy, fulfillment, and a feeling that we were standing on the right side of history. Then I reflected on what we were marching for: it wasn’t for some nuanced perspective on immigration with reasonable arguments on both sides. It was for basic human rights (keyword “basic”). We were marching for the right of children to hug their parents, for the right of mothers to breastfeed their babies, for the right of toddlers to know their family. These fundamental needs are as much the rights of Mexican immigrants as they are mine. That’s just basic human decency. Again, keyword “basic.”

We marched for families to have the right to be families. A few months ago we marched for children to have the right to go to school safely. A few weeks before that I spoke at a march for science. My point is not that we should not be marching, but that these marches shouldn’t be necessary. I worry that our standards have been lowered so far that we’ve normalized settling for “OK” when “great” could be possible. I think we can have comprehensive immigration reform that places proper value on all human lives, I think we can keep our schools safe, and I think we can defeat climate change. We just need to change our expectations, then fight like hell to make it happen.

Sammy Potter