11 March 2012: Choose Your Cause. Or Don’t!

Today, Sunday March 11, they scheduled a march and demonstration from the Plaza de Neptuno to the Puerta del Sol in Madrid to protest the labor reforms in Spain. Today, Sunday, March 11, is also the 8th year anniversary of the Madrid train bombings.

The two topics compete for today’s news headlines in print, online, and TV, as well. You’ve got to ask yourself – or at least I do – which party is pushing discussion of one over the other?

Not to get too politically specific here – and those whom know me know I tend to shy away from talking politics publicly, but Spain is a country fierce in its politics. If you thought USA’s Republican and Democratic parties were divided (and they certainly are!), that’s nothing compared to Spain. I can only assume that most of it stems from 40 years under a dictatorship and there’s plenty of bad-blood still flowing through these Spanish veins on both sides.

Someone on Twitter wrote, “Couldn’t they have found another day on the calendar for the labor reform demonstration?” Maybe. Maybe the rest of the calendar was full of previously scheduled demonstrations and today was all they had on relatively short notice.

Should it matter? Yes. No. Maybe. Who knows.

Today’s small-ish turn out for the march/demonstration, about half a million people by somebody’s count, might be blamed on its coincidence with the memoriums at the Madrid train stations and the ceremony in Retiro Park. Maybe.

Today’s also a beautiful, springlike day in Madrid so maybe people took the family out to some nearby village for a walk and lunch. Maybe.

Maybe there was a fútbol/football/soccer match here in Madrid at noon – but I’m NEVER aware of these things. If so, all bets are off as fútbol in Spain tends to take precedence over all else; over politics, over religion, even over visiting your mother on Mother’s Day.

Maybe people just don’t care about these things as much anymore. Maybe people see the demonstration and the memorium as fluff, something to waste people’s time, not worth making the trip downtown on public transportation for neither.

And maybe people see the labor reform measures as necessary – or as inevitable, as buried as the victims of terrorism in Madrid.

Whatever the case, people have a voice in Spain and they use it. It’s refreshing and inspiring to see people exercise their rights no matter their beliefs. People in the USA don’t tend to “exercise” so much – their voice or otherwise, and it shows.

 
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