This rapid-fire dismantling of democracy, of gag orders and executive orders, feels vengeful and punitive. It appears our new government is locked into the “I’ll show you” phase of leadership. Everything is about tearing something apart, or creating barriers, or stripping away rights. For every slight they’ve ever felt, for every compelled compliance with constitutional law or the bill of rights, there is a counter beat down action emerging from the Oval Office.
I am learning that despite our best intentions, human nature is at its very heart ugly and selfish, that our most primal instincts are self-centered. There is a loud minority of people who want us to believe that the only way to protect their rights is to take away ours. But here’s the thing: it’s not pie. We don’t have to fight for the last piece.
Compassion, empathy, kindness, love, inclusion — these things are not finite. They don’t run out. And even better, unlike fossil fuels, they are a renewable resource, just like solar power and the wind.
I know there are people who disagree with me, but I see this as we either move bravely into the new world, or backward into places that once felt safe and comfortable. I get that people are worried about jobs, about making ends meet, but the jobs that will enable our children to have a good life are not in coal mines or factories that no longer exist. They are the jobs that come from education and innovation, from technology and sustainable energy, from embracing America’s entrepreneurial spirit and the needs of the global community. They are jobs that a man like our president and his billionaire boys’ club have never even heard of, let alone developed an understanding of how to create.
It frustrates me that we aren’t all on the same side. That progress and equality, are not universal hopes for ourselves and our children. And it frightens me that so many of us are unwilling to hold our elected officials accountable. They are simply men, not gods. And right now, these men, this administration, needs to be held accountable for lying, for disregarding the law, for outright discrimination, for censorship, and for trying to drag us kicking and screaming away from the light.
Holding on to my better self is hard work, but here’s what I know to be true: despite our darkest instincts, we follow the light to survive. This may prove to be one of our nation’s blackest hours, but it will be followed by true progress, by an expansion of human rights, by a vibrant multi-cultural society, and by an age of innovation unlike anything that’s come before. We will not go back. There may be small victories and tremendous loss, but we will keep moving forward, ever slowly, to the light. Where there is pie for everyone.