After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.
January 20, 2009.
In his first inaugural address President Barack Obama said this:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.Exactly four years later, in his second inaugural address, he said this:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:I shudder to think what the (at least) next four years will look like.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
And for more than two hundred years, we have.
Will we even recognize ourselves then?
As we contemplate the corrupt, bigoted, thin-skinned, incompetent, and dishonest man who'll be taking the oath of office this Friday, we should all be thinking about what we're losing as a nation.
We used to be able to claim that we were the good guys (whether that's true is a completely separate question). We used to be able to claim that, politics aside, there's an inherent goodness in the American character - that we support the expansion of freedom and justice everywhere (again, whether that's true in practice is a separate question). But with 60 million or so of our citizens either OK with or OK-enough with Trump's various indecencies to vote for him, we can no longer any of claim that.
Instead, there's a man who, the moment he takes the oath is violating the very Constitution he just swore to uphold.
And the only hope of any sort of oversight would have to come from a Congress dominated by Senators and Representatives voted in by the same MAGA-hatted who were OK with Trump's indecencies in the first place.
Best of luck to us on that.
What will we look like in 4 years? Will we recognize ourselves then?