It’s been a rough couple of months, folks.
I didn’t post it here, but in the wake of the election, I wrote this in memoriam of the Obama era:
I didn’t know what to say. I thought I might say nothing. But then I saw the articles already about how Obama’s legacy has been wiped out by this election. And yes, it may be true. We go from a man who represented the best of us–child of immigrants and the heartland, rational and tolerant, faithful father and husband, champion of compromise and democracy–to someone who represents the worst of us–arrogant and narcissistic, faithless in business and family, crass and unconcerned with empathy. The twin souls of America on display. Every hard earned inch of progress–millions of people with health insurance, an economic recovery finally reaching down to the middle class, the first inklings of momentum on climate change–may be lost. But the Obama era was still one of class and dignity in the White House and I can only think of one of my favorite quotes from Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, “If it lives only for a while…it still has lived.”
In the weeks since, I have tried and tried to understand the other side of this schism. I’ve tried to reconcile the reasons I hear people providing for voting for Trump with anything resembling reason. I would like to think it was an honest effort, but I suppose his supporters would say I’m just hopelessly biased.
My inability to understand them or make any of them understand me had left me frustrated and terrified.
I have looked at this man who is now our President and his pandering to the basest forms of populism going hand in hand with authoritarian threats against the press and with suggestions that we should abandon our leadership role in the world to let dictators abroad tend their own flocks so that we might put “America first,” and I have quaked with fear for the world my children are inheriting.
How could we have failed them so monstrously that they might live in some Orwellian state lorded over by a thin skinned demagogue? I thought that our very democracy was in imminent peril. I thought this horrible chapter was the epilogue to the great American experiment, the end of that aspiration that has burned brighter year after year as we pursued a more perfect union in liberty’s name. I have hardly slept well these past few months for the sense of despair and powerlessness that Trump’s election left in my heart.
Tonight, I will sleep like a baby.
Because today, I saw that democracy in this great country can never be brought down by one outrageous election result or one horrible president.
Today, I see that America is awake and aware, and that we are ready to stand together against the worst impulses of the powerful and defend the progress that we have made the last eight years.
The America that Obama believed in, that I believe in, did not die on November 8th, 2016. Progress. Dignity. Striving for each others’ best destinies. These things live on in America. I see them in those massive, swelling crowds that dwarf those who turned out yesterday for the least legitimate presidential victor in over a century and a half.
We haven’t lost. We’ve only had our spirit to fight renewed. Mr. Trump can pretend all he wants. He can ignore the headlines that proclaim today’s marches the largest demonstrations in U.S. history. He can go on pushing for his narrowly conceived, recidivistic agenda with every tantrum and tweetstorm.
It won’t matter.
We are ready to resist and ready to take back our country.