There’s a Chinese curse – “may you live in interesting times.”
We are living in “interesting times,” in fact, in quite challenging times.
We worked our heart and soul to elect the first woman president of the United States.
That’s both interesting and “historic.”
Virginia wanted Hillary.
The nation needed her.
According to the popular vote, the nation preferred that Hillary Clinton be our next president.
But the electoral college is the constitutional measure of such things, and thus we shall have a failed casino operator, Donald Trump, as our President – a crass, disrespectful, cursing, hate-filled, lying, intolerant bully, who pretends to know much about everything, while having little experience at much of anything having to do with public policy and governance.
This man ran down our nation for the last year, picking fights, pushing people around, promising somehow, by these tactics, that he’d make America great again.
Trump doesn’t know what makes this nation great.
It is that we conceived of ourselves as a nation as one united – one from many.
This “got-your-back” promise of unity has been our nation’s North Star, what we have fought to perfect from the very beginning.
We have struggled in fits and starts, not without pain, not without blood and suffering, indeed, not without a civil war, not without women being jailed and tortured for demanding the right to vote.
The French made a gift to this still young nation of a tall statue, a maiden who stands with a flaming torch of liberty uplifted high for the whole world to see, beckoning the suffering masses to our shores to find freedom. We’re not going to go back on that promise, are we?
What could be a more grievous violation of what makes us great, than to divide our nation.
President Lincoln said – “a House divided cannot stand.”
More than any time in my life since the 60s, have we seen such intolerance by a presidential candidate based on a person’s skin color, gender, religion, nation of origin, and sexual orientation.
Mature citizens who are hardly politically obsessive, who are just plain folk, cannot sleep. Perhaps you couldn’t either.
Children cry at home and in class because they know and they fear we are re-defining our nation’s social contract; they are being counseled.
Protesters take to the streets, the vice-president elect is booed at a theater in New York, and the President rebuffs an actor’s plea for reassurance, signaling the President elect’s low threshold to strike out at others.
We are also hard-pressed in the history of American politics to find anything like Russia’s intrusion into our presidential election.
FBI Director Comey irreparably intruded into this election in the final days of the campaign.
These compromises of our electoral process eclipses Nixon’s dirty tricks in 1972.
Still, we have Democratic leaders who encourage us to keep our powder dry, to give Trump a chance. They talk about construction projects as a point of agreement with Trump. Do they really seek to normalize relations with the man who seeks to deconstruct our nation.
Does anyone doubt that Trump will continue to be Trump?
We the people have to stop Trump’s un-American intentions.
We have the tools, the righteous constitutional means to do so, and each of us must do what we can.
If our elected officials don’t represent us, we have to represent ourselves. Throughout history, that’s how the mightiest reforms have been achieved.
We have to join the protests that define our legitimate differences.
If you can, every man, woman and, yes, child, should march in the Million Women March the day after inauguration.
What could be a more appropriate protest to demand respect for women and for the rights that our President elect appears so hell bent to violate, to compromise, and to dismiss.
There will be court actions, confirmation hearings, bills on the hill, and you must do what you can, write letters to the media, to your representatives, speak your mind to family and friends – if you are still speaking.
As for whether any one of us can make a difference, I believe the answer is a resounding yes.
As a young man, I saw a war ended and a President driven from office for misconduct because of the acts of individual citizens, young and old, banding together while our representative had to be prodded to act at all.
In 1963, Robert Kennedy, speaking against apartheid, said,
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
That’s what we need to do.
Are we on the same page?
I hope so.
Now let’s get to it.
The time to grieve is done.
The time to act is now.