We have survived the November election and the challenging days that followed, including Jan. 6 which will go down in infamy, and then a glorious and hopeful Inauguration Day. Now we must consider what lies before us and decide what we should now do to work toward a fairer, better future for all citizens of our county, state and nation.
The Age of Trump has challenged so many of my basic beliefs about what it means to be an American. I had always thought that we all agree about what those immortal words, “we the People…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” mean. It seems some of us were wrong. The majority of voters in this county, 33,798, voted for Donald Trump and what he represents. Why, in this rural and poor part of North Carolina, did so many people think he was their savior? Why were we unable to convince our friends and neighbors that cruelty and school yard bullying and nasty aggression toward anyone deemed different was the true character of America? Why would those voters somehow believe that not every voter was entitled to the same rights and privileges as they claim for themselves? Why should they believe that the color or one’s skin makes a person more or less equal to everyone else? Why should one’s faith or personal or physical sense of self be anyone else’s business?
These trying times, when we have all witnessed cruelty and stupidity at historic levels, should cause all of us to reexamine our values and ideals. I know I have spent long quiet days considering what I should do to help our beloved country return to its goals and aspirations instead of struggling to conserve a lost and admittedly flawed past. How can some of us insist on regurgitating the old lies of the Know Nothing movement of the mid-19th century and then apply those same prejudices to refugees and hopeful immigrants from our southern borders? We should all listen carefully to what Republicans now say and do.
Whatever becomes our political path, it is, I believe, vital that we stand firm and be willing to support our beliefs with our money, our energy, and our faith in what is good and precious about this country and world and every single human being who breathes its air.
And let us all recall Amanda Gorman’s ending words in her Inaugural poem:
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it