Taking the Long View

There are times when even I can admit my optimism is unwarranted, and this may be one of them. But we must suffer delirium before the fever breaks. We must sink to our lowest and then even lower before we are motivated to change our ways. And now just might be that time.

Recovery is never a straight road upward. There are missteps. There are times when we fall and must get up again. Maybe, as a nation, we have finally fallen as far as we can go. And maybe Trump voters were right that we needed to shake up Washington. That out of this Trump turmoil and chaos some good can come. And ultimately we will rebuild into a better nation.

Let’s face it. If Hilary Clinton had won, we would all remain comfortable and the wheels that turn Washington would continue on. There would still be corruption, as there always has been, uninterrupted through both parties’ administrations. You can argue some are worse than others, but basically, under Clinton, it would have been business as usual.

There would have been no unprecedented marches clogging streets across the nation. There would have been no outrage. There would have been no reason to examine how those who govern have gotten so out of touch with the people of this country. Why so many are so angry. And how We the People can be so polarized.

I feel that as a country, we’ve taken two steps forward and now we’re taking one step back. In only a few weeks, we’ve seen how our values can be imperiled. How the bedrock of our nation—an educated citizenry—can be threatened by undermining our public schools. How our environment—the very air we breathe—can be threatened by a climate denier as head of the EPA. How regulations that protect us from another catastrophic financial collapse can be rescinded. And on and on. Some of these issues, most notably healthcare, can mean the difference between life and death. The political gets very personal very fast.

But we have coasted for a long time. We have not been compelled to get off our behinds and march, or call our senators, or write our congressmen, or run for office, or pay attention to local politics. Or even just speak up. Our activism is long overdue if we want to protect our freedoms.

The very slogan, “Make American Great Again,” implies going backward. But we know it’s not possible to go back. At least not permanently. Pandora’s box has been opened, and the lid will not shut. Women and minorities can vote and hold positions of power. Globalization has taken root and cannot be undone. Worldwide communication gives even the smallest among us a voice. Technology makes everyone more intelligent, more interconnected, more equal.

We may have set backs now and again. But as MLK said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And that is why, in the long run, I can’t help being optimistic.