I'm sure you remember how it was waking up on November 9, 2016. If you awakened at all. You would have to have slept first, and many of us found that very difficult the night after the election.
A conservative publication stated at the time that 11/9/16 was the first day of the 21st century under the direction and leadership of Donald Trump. More likely, it may have been the last day of the 20th century, but if a new century was indeed beginning, there was neither direction nor leadership, only a persistent regression into a repressive past.
Remember the feeling that morning? Disbelief? Shock? Apprehension? Fear? We had somehow taken our right to choose a leader and used it to elect a man who had spent his entire adult life skirting the law (and would spend his term as president doing the same.)
At the time we imagined all sorts of chaos and disruption, but only the wisest among us saw the real significance--the hidden dangers, the long-term peril. I worried about the collapse of the financial system, the end of environmentalism, and the threat to public education from an unconcerned president who would–and did–turn education over to an evangelical socialite. But I missed the big picture entirely.
I awoke yesterday morning with the same feelings, but this time–six years later–it's not theoretical, and my fear is not for the future: that future is now. That future began with a Supreme Court decision on June 24 and may not end for decades.
I can list all the horrors that will unfold in the years to come when women are denied self-determination. Those of us old enough have seen it before Roe, and we know it will begin again–the backroom abortions, the livelihoods and lives ruined, damage, despondency, abandoned and neglected children, and always the presence of death. It's all coming, but we let it happen. We–who treated politics like some syndrome to be avoided lest we corrupt ourselves somehow.
I don't know how many times in my younger years I said something like this: Democrats? Republicans? They're all the same. And I seldom met with much contradiction, probably because cynicism and ignorance mesh so easily. So I drifted along voting for Democrats because that's what I did; and when a Republican became president, or governor, or mayor, my life was only marginally affected.
There's probably a bit less cynicism and ignorance today, but the damage is done: any remaining starry-eyed romantics who believed the common good will win out are busy reconfiguring their outlooks. This is not a summer beach novel–this is Gatsby and we'd better stay out of the pool.
And the blame game is on among the progressives: Blame Biden, blame the Dems, blame AOC, blame Pelosi, blame someone. Let me join in, because I have a few scapegoats to mention:
•20,000 "wistful" Wisconsin Democrats for whom Hilary Clinton wasn't pure enough.
•11,000 "idealistic" Michigan voters for whom Hilary Clinton wasn't perfect.
•260,000 Pennsylvania voters for whom the choice between an idiot and a stateswoman was not sufficient and voted for three other candidates. Clinton lost by 44,000 of those votes.
•Tens of thousands of Florida voters, angered over Obama's friendly overtures toward Cuba, who decided that if America was going to recognize Cuba, they weren't going to recognize America. Twenty-nine electoral votes lost. (Florida now has 30.)
That's 75 electoral votes, garnered by a man whose only strength was that he wasn't Hilary Clinton. And all those sagacious voters who said, "I'll hold my nose and vote for Clinton"? They didn't. They either stayed home or voted for Trump or wasted their protest vote on a third-party candidate. (Yes, wasted–sorry, but you did.) Waiting for FDR to return, Dems? He's not coming back.
And now here we are with an inefficient executive branch, a feckless legislative branch, and a corrupt judicial branch–all because, in 2016, we chose a dolt over the most qualified candidate in decades. And we face a future where the Roundheads and puritanical evangelists will decide who the witches are and what should happen to them. Most of us read The Crucible in high school–be wary of people gathering stones.
Fiction writer Katherine Mansfield once said, "Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in."
She's right, so instead of wallowing,
•Support Planned Parenthood and other organizations that advocate for women's rights, especially in states where abortions have already been summarily prohibited.
•Support only candidates for office with a record of supporting choice and women's health issues. A record of support–promises are lies.
•Elect officials that will do their jobs so that our futures are not decided in secret by political hacks in robes.
•And Democrats, stop shooting yourselves in the foot. Do you really think vocally expressing your displeasure with the current president–the one who rescued us from four more years of thievery and scandal–really helps the Democrats in Congress or even those running in local elections?
Biden not good enough? Is January 6 more your cup of tea?