Doug Strickland/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP
Are we great again yet?
Can you believe it has been a year? What a difference a year makes.
We’ve all had a civics lesson. We’ve learned about the Electoral College, the 25th Amendment, checks and balances, and the rule of law.
We’ve learned that Russia attacked us, Trump’s team helped, and Republicans don’t care. We’ve learned that Americans like having access to affordable health care that can’t be taken away from them, and Republicans don’t care. We’ve learned that Americans overwhelmingly want sensible gun control regulations, and Republicans don’t care. We’ve learned the importance of our vote, and that Republicans, through voter suppression and gerrymandering, are determined to prevent our votes from mattering.
We’ve joined the resistance. We’ve marched on Washington and demonstrated at home. We’ve attended town hall meetings and called our state and federal elected officials. Some of us have even run for office for the first time. We’ve tried (belatedly, some of us) to understand and empathize with the pain of our neighbors suffering from the dislocations of automation, globalization, and social change, even as we have sheltered and comforted those marginalized and terrorized by a new viciousness in our public discourse and our national policy.
Meanwhile, our current tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has attacked the freedom of the press, the independent judiciary, the military, and his own party leadership. He has urged the Justice Department to prosecute his political enemies. He has hollowed out the State Department and set foxes to guard the chicken coops at Energy, Education, Commerce, the Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency, banishing science from government policy.
When we experienced what looked for all the world like a military coup, with Generals Kelly, Mattis, and McMaster grabbing the wheel at an out-of-control White House, the ruling elite welcomed it, breathing a sigh of relief.
This is how totalitarianism progresses, we are told. What once seemed intolerable gradually becomes normal. Protests eventually subside.
But we’re just getting started. We’re not going to be the generation that witnesses the end of America’s two-centuries-old experiment with democracy. In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, who saw even darker days than these, we will “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
Happy anniversary. Here’s to 2018. Forward, together.
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