The Trump Administration--and I can't understate how much I loathe typing those words--is now just a little more than a week old, and it has already sown a level of national discord that it has taken past Administrations months (years, in some cases) to achieve. Democrats are outraged. Republicans are either silent, or pretending nothing is wrong (or in their default mode, blaming the Democrats for it all). The people, on the other hand, are in the streets.
Last Saturday, I was one of them, along with my wife. Along with a friend of hers, and the friend's son, we participated in the march in D.C., each of us wearing our pink hats, along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans who refuse to accept the "President" that 46 percent of the voters have foisted upon the rest of us. It was an amazing experience. The march attracted so many participants that it was forced to be re-routed, and even then the streets felt absolutely clogged with people everywhere we went. The four of us ended up breaking off from the main group of participants before we reached the White House, which was supposed to the the terminal point of the event. We all ended up going home, thoroughly exhausted.
And yet, I have to say that, for all of that, I was inspired by not only the sheer number of participants, and their energy and enthusiasm for participating, but also by the number of political activists who were taking advantage of the opportunity to sign people up for future efforts to mobilize public opinion against the nightmare of our new government. I signed up with two of them. I was especially happy to see this because, ever since the election, I have sensed that most of the people on my side of the political fence have been deeply depressed, feeling powerless and spending more time on their smart phones and laptops looking for some sign of encouragement.
On Saturday, we discovered the best source of encouragement of all: each other. We discovered once again that Barack Obama was right. We truly are the change that we seek. And, despite the gloomy weather, despite the horrible configuration of national power that now faces all of us, I could easily look around and see the difference just being together can make. Despite some of the logistical problems created by the unexpectedly large number of people, I heard no complaints. I sensed frustration with politics, but not with each other. People helped each other out in different ways, people encouraged each other, and, in spite of the political frustration, people seemed happy.
For many, including me, that happiness came just from the sense that, after more than two months of just trying to absorb the awfulness of the election outcome, something was actually being done. But I think it was also about something else, something that's easy to forget in a digital, talk-to-the-rest of the world from behind a screen. Each person at the march, and at similar events around the country, discovered once again that they are not alone. That's a powerful thing to remember, and to hang onto as well.
Perhaps the success of the events on last Saturday is the sense I and many others have that those events never seem to have actually ended last weekend. In one form or another, they have continued throughout the week, encouraged in part by an Administration that seems to get its fuel from provocation. The past few days in particular, since Trump's executive (and, to a large extent, illegal) executive orders on immigration, immigration advocates, including attorneys (including my wife) have descended on airports in an attempt to assist green-card and visa holders, including refugees previously cleared for entry. This is opposition in its most practical form, going beyond advocacy to the actual hard work of making a real difference for those who are--there's no other way to say it--being oppressed.
Which raises a question in my mind, especially since this is the first post for TRH in 2017: in the present four-year emergency, is blogging the best use of my time?
To be honest, I'm not really sure.
I'm an attorney. I'm trained as a journalist. I've been involved with various types of political campaigning. There are lots of other ways in which I could be contributing to the downfall of The Donald and his would-be empire. At this point, I honestly don't know if blogging is really the best way I could be doing this. And, whatever contribution I make at this point, in my mind, has to be the best possible contribution that I can make. I'm 60, and at a point where I could just say "the hell with it all." But I have children and grandchildren, one of whom may be profoundly affected by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (if it happens). I can't give up. But, by the same token, I can't afford to waste any time.
For the time being, I'm going forward with blogging. But, frankly, I could really use some feedback. If nothing else, it would help to remind me that I am not alone. And, whatever I end up doing, whatever all of us end up doing, may it make a difference that will be cherished by history and our posterity. We can't screw this up. Too much depends on it. Whatever happens, don't give up--whatever I end up doing, I won't.