If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going…
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” is a phrase that’s quite apropos in light of the protests around the country this past weekend. Haters hating. Friends un-friending friends on Facebook and Twitter. Cancelled classes and school walk outs- all responses to a disappointing- no, devastating- election outcome for Blue America where the dream of the first female president was deferred by the Trump Train. No fireworks. No shooting the glass ceiling. Inauguration day marked the horror of a Republican ascendency for those who did not expect their side to lose, and more terrifying, a leader with a penchant for p — you know, promises.
Instead of online rants, how about a history lesson? When Federalists handed the reins to the Democratic Republicans after the Revolution of 1800 a mere decade after the ratification of the Constitution, no blood was shed. At his inauguration, Thomas Jefferson famously declared, “We are all Republicans, We are all Federalists” thus setting the precedent for the peaceful transfer of power between political parties. That’s how it’s supposed to work. And, with the exception of a few bumps in the road, namely the Civil War, it has.
And hell is far more painful than losing. At least it appears to be in medieval paintings (think Hieronymus Bosch). Consider Aleppo. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Homosexuals in Russia. Starving Somalians. Child brides in Afghanistan. A victim in the Fort Lauderdale shooting. On the spectrum of living hells, these rank high, but failing to accept the outcome of an election does not make the cut.
In the aftermath of this inauguration weekend, marked by both immense joy and utter despair, there is a two-fold reason to be super proud to be an American no matter the political stripe. First, Americans can once again believe in associationalism, the idea Alexis de Tocqueville found so fascinating about democracy in America way back in the early 1800s. He saw Americans help each other, build barns together, pioneer communities together, build a republic together- they probably even built walls together! But, two centuries later this practice was assumed dead. Alas! It’s not! Blue Americans coalesced in rage post Clinton defeat, while the Reds put a billionaire with no experience in office! Don’t tell me that’s because Americans are bowling alone! And, the Women’s March(es) showed the power of assembly and association in mobilizing a movement. Second, for those suffering with the post election blues, cheer up! At least Noam Chomsky is wrong. Americans aren’t spectators in this democracy but actual agents of change- Exhibit A: President Trump. Exhibit B: The Women’s March(es)
Hope and change is a reality! Thanks Obama! Not only did America elect a multi-racial president twice but now a populist businessman with zero political debts, a depleted personal bank account, and a pledge to forego his presidential salary. Go America! From Chomsky-ite to a Nasty Woman, Adorable Deplorable or Whatever! Wow! I believe!
Hell is relative to individual experience. Lest I remind those mourning in safe places pinned together with like-minded souls that all is not lost. Starbucks is open, WiFi is free, and there are millions of Facebook sites yet to be liked. Fret no more and realize that freedom in this constitutional republic is what enables Americans to cast a vote no matter the outcome. But, don’t sweat the loss. Accept the reality that the only guarantee in life is change and the forward march of time. Hope and change: Bernie 2020!