I feel like I need to take a moment to acknowledge the simultaneous pain and relief of this political moment. As someone who takes a beat to reflect, to process my thoughts and feelings before sharing them with the world, I have not felt up to the task of doing any writing on political affairs. By the time I formulate a response, it already feels a bit untimely for a blog post. But I want to recognize the fact that over 420,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and infection rates continue to climb. Certainly, more Americans have died, or been adversely affected, by the social conditions of the pandemic: job loss and poverty, addiction, isolation, putting off medical exams or treatments, domestic violence. Many of our nations’ children have not been able to attend school in person for nearly a year. Vaccination distribution is woefully behind schedule. Mask wearing and social distancing protocols remain politicized. To the point where Republican lawmakers refused to wear masks while sheltering in place with their colleagues, who subsequently tested positive for the virus. Oh, that’s right, our federal legislators were under lockdown because white nationalist fascists stormed the US Capitol building to prevent the certification of electoral college votes by congress. The culmination of a months-long misinformation campaign, spearheaded by the President of the United States himself, that our free and fair election was fraudulent. And a years-long campaign of racial division, grievance, and authoritarian demands of loyalty. After the Capitol was regained, some lawmakers still objected to the certification. The undermining of democracy takes many forms, often wearing a suit and a red tie.
BUT. While we were all reminded just how fragile democracy is, on January 6 we also saw how resilient and transformative it can be. That morning Georgia turned blue, thanks to the work of local organizers, and the leadership of Black women, over the course of years and in the face of systemic voter suppression. Georgia sent its first Black senator, Raphael Warnock, and first Jewish senator, Jon Ossoff, to Washington to be sworn in. On January 20th, Joe Biden took over the bully pulpit and condemned white supremacy in his inauguration speech. Kamala Harris made women across the country cry with joy at her success. Their administration is shaping up to be the most diverse ever, and their agenda is pandemic-, climate-, and justice-focused. I look forward to seeing it held accountable to its promises.
It’s all… a lot. Sometimes it’s just too much. These big stories matter, but when they get overwhelming, I shift my focus to smaller stories. What is happening in my neighborhood, my city, my kids’ school? What can I do to make things better? As I have said before there is a lot of work to do and a lot of ways to do it. Keep going.