Rabblerousers and Names

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8th grade, 1968, new state, new school, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. I pleasantly and determinedly created a petition to request that girls be allowed to wear pants to school. I got enough signatures, it worked, we were allowed to wear pants.

Mr. Brenner, my English teacher, said “Mary, you are a rabblerouser!” I had to look up the word in the dictionary. An old fashioned one, with alphabetical listings, remember those? When I found out that the word describes itself, one who rouses the rabble, I blushed with flustered….shame! embarrassment! horror!

What I wondered then, and I still wonder now, this many years later, is why do Rabblerousers have a name if not to imply that there is something wrong – or annoying – or dangerous – about them?

And yes I am still rousing the rabble. Nothing huge, but yeah I still do.