A Friend Said President Biden’s Inauguration Was a “Sad Day For America”. I’m Sad For Her.

This is a sad day for America.

That’s all a former friend of ours could post on social media during the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

A sad day.

I wondered what made her sad watching it:

Was it a man who’s suffered unthinkable personal tragedy and loss, taking the oath of office at the age of 78-years old, after coming out of retirement to run because he felt an obligation to his nation to save it from a historically harmful presence?

Did that make her sad?

Was it the swearing in of the first female, black, Asian-American Vice President in our nation’s history?

Was she sad about that?

Was it the radiant countenance of 22-year old, African-America poet laureate Amanda Gorman, who overcame a speech impediment to eloquently deliver brilliant words of stratospheric hope to a nation so needing it?

Did that make my friend sad?

Was it the glorious prophetic fire of Rev. Silvester Beaman’s benediction, as he declared that “In our common humanity, we will seek out the wounded and bind their wounds, we will seek healing for those who are sick and diseased… we will befriend the lonely, the least, and the left out.”

As a professed Christian, was that why she was sad?

Perhaps it the show of solidarity by the living presidents from both sides of the aisle who assembled to witness an inauguration, on the site of what only two weeks prior was a deadly, failed attempt by domestic terrorists to violently prevent it?

Was that cause for her despair?

Or was it the words of President Biden’s speech themselves?

Did his words make her sad?

When he declared:

This is America’s day… Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy.

Was she sad seeing a man in power not make something about himself, but about the nation he was charged with serving, about him not needing praise or attention for a millisecond?

Was it hearing him say:

So now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. 

Was that clear condemnation of violent domestic terrorism, a moment of sadness for her?

Did sadness come when the President declared:

To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity. Unity. In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “If my name ever goes down into history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”

“My whole soul is in it.” Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.

Was something other than a battle posture from a sitting president an occasion to grieve for her? Has she been so conditioned by a small, fragile man whose only play was vilification, demonization, and war rhetoric—that the very idea of unity now brings mourning?

Was she sad when President Biden said,

To all of those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably. Within the guardrails of our republic, it’s perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans. And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Was hearing as a Republican in the first ten minutes of Joe Biden’s presidency, words of affirmation and compassion and validation, that as a non-Republican were never once offered to me in four years? Was she sad to be considered instead of condemned by a sitting president? Was it him being to her, what his replacement never cared to be for me: a leader who saw me? Was she sad about that?

Was our former friend filled with despair when the 46th President declared:

There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Have 48 months of abject falsehoods and manufactured reality, now made an affirmation of objective truth a source of personal sadness?

Was it President Biden’s closing, in which he promised:

My fellow Americans, I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath before God and all of you. I give you my word, I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America. And I’ll give all, all of you, keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power but of possibilities, not of personal injuries but the public good. And together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness.

Was that clear, open-hearted declaration to spend himself on behalf of a people and a nation he loves, a moment of sadness for our friend?

I’m going to reach out to her and ask her to name with specificity why she was “sad” watching the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but I’m not hopeful I’ll get an answer. I don’t think even she knows.

I imagine she, like so many people in our nation, has been so weaned on a false story of her present oppression and impending demise, so gaslit by her president into being perpetually terrified, that in this moment she can’t see clearly.

She can’t see that normal is better, that more diverse is better, that words of kindness are better.

She can’t see that this president is for her, that he is for me, that he is for this nation.

She can’t see that this president, while not perfect—actually gives a damn about her in ways the former president simply never did.

That makes me sad.

Goodbye, Donald. You Were A Helpful Disaster.

Dear President Trump,

In the waning hours of your presidency, I wanted to take a few moments to express my deepest gratitude for all that you’ve done.

It will be difficult in this small space to adequately express the depth and breadth of my appreciation, but I will make an admittedly feeble attempt.

I was wrong about you.

At first, I wrongly assumed you were to blame, but in recent years

   

 

  

 

 

  

in the 81 million who have been horrified for every single day you have been here; those who’ve grieved and despaired and been outraged.

in those who’ve lost sleep and sacrificed time and expended energy pushing back against you and people like you.

in white people who are finally coming to terms with the reality of their privilege and the supremacy afflicting this nation.

 

You have left a trail of injured people, desecrated ideals, plundered resources, and fractured relationships that cannot be quantified.

But in being as unrepentantly malevolent and unapologetically ugly as you have been, you’ve unearthed our hidden sickness and shown us who we are: not in the songs or the anthems or the history books, but in reality and in this moment.

 

Now, get the hell out of our house and our lives for good.

The Inauguration Day We Can’t Fully Enjoy

This week we’re inaugurating a president who has received a historic number of votes, winning by a staggering seven million.
 
We’re inaugurating a brilliant woman of color as his Vice President.
 
Together, they have assembled the most diverse Administration this nation has ever seen, one that for the first time is beginning to accurately reflect the nation it will serve and represent.
 
81 million Americans should be able to rejoice in these days, but we cannot.
This should be a moment of collective jubilation, but it isn’t.
We should all be exhaling now but we aren’t able to.
We should be celebrating—but we can’t do that.
 

We can’t, because the violence generated by an outgoing president and his complicit party, (who have for the first time in our history refused a peaceful transition of power) is so pervasive and threatening, that our nation’s Capitol is a literal war zone, that state capitols around the nation are boarded up and closing down, that there is razor wire around surrounding the Inauguration, that members of our government are wearing bullet-proof vests.

We can’t revel in the results of a free and fair election, in the Democratic process working, in our shared efforts in this sacred American experiment—because we’re too busy attending to the PTSD of watching a less-than-two-week-old mass assassination attempt by a political party and wondering what horror is coming next. We’ve endured pre-emptive election sabotage and post-election recounts and lawsuits and a failed bloody coup—and still, we aren’t allowed to rest in those many victories.

We can’t enjoy these moments with our friends and our families and our children, because we’re still trying to process a group of politicians helping their rabid base plan and execute a murderous terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol in an effort to kidnap and kill members of Congress—all because they’re unhappy that their gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright corruption didn’t overcome the votes of the people.

Our arriving joy is tempered by seeing a party still inexplicably doubling down in the wake of unfathomable violence, by perpetuating their defeated president’s big lie—knowing it will surely incite more brutality; that it is directly placing public servants, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens in harm’s way.

We will not get to have the cathartic, public, unfettered happiness that his supporters had after the 2016 election and on the day of the 2017 Inauguration,  because they are not able to consent to that; because they are a people so collectively afflicted with enmity that they cannot allow it. Denying other people’s joy and causing them pain is all they understand and all their president has nurtured in them, and the sole cause they are truly devoted to.

So, this week we will scrape the BidenHarris2020 stickers off our cars to reduce the chance we will be assaulted by a stranger, we will hold our collective breath until the very millisecond the oaths of office are complete, and we will pray that the violence the outgoing president and his sycophantic supporters have trafficked in to this point will not scar this moment further.

Yes, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in and they will take office and begin to course-correct this nation.

And yes, in the coming days we will find ourselves slowly breathing again and gradually welcoming normalcy and eventually being surprised by the corporate peace that will come from having human adult leaders with working empathy again.

But we will all have been robbed of this singular glorious moment to simply feel lightness again, because the darkness refuses to let us.

This will be a celebration delayed and diluted, and we will have it. We will see the America that can be rising up from the America that is.

But the fact that more than 81 million of us have to be terrified of our neighbors right now when we should be simply joyful, is a sad indictment of the people who voted for this defeated fraud and of the nation we have become under him.

 

 
 

Blue Lives Never Really Mattered, Did They MAGAs?

MAGA friend, you can admit it now.

“Blue Lives” never really mattered to you, did they?

At least, not as much as your white life.

Don’t worry about letting us down or crushing our hopes.

We never really believed you anyway.

We could see what you were doing from the beginning even if you couldn’t.

That’s how delusion and self-denial work: the farther from them you are the easier they are to recognize, which is why you couldn’t see what was in the mirror staring back at you.

We all suspected Blue Lives Matter was a performative exercise: merely a desperate defensive gesture to deny the reality in front of you, a noisy and distracting redirection away from what your eyes were seeing and from what your mind could not accept.

When the murders of black people became too brazen, when the systemic supremacist poison of law enforcement paraded itself down the street without reservation, when the depth of the pervasive hatred afflicting our nation could no longer be denied—you needed an alternative truth that would exempt you from speaking and exonerate your guilt.

You needed a way out.

And so you crafted a convenient narrative that could move you from reluctant accomplice to valiant hero: a manufactured noble cause to support; a different reality where you were not in complete contempt of people of color, but an impartial, objective defender of “law and order.”

It was always a shaky and flimsy facade at best.

We could see through the cracks in your carefully couched Facebook posts, your off-hand subtle slurs at dinner, and your persistent white whataboutisms that defied logic—and into the depths of your cancerous heart. Yet you doubled down again and again, maybe to convince yourself as much as persuade us, and you thought at least you were partially successful.

But on a Wednesday afternoon in January, that all changed.

There on the steps of our Capitol, in the middle of the day and in the raking light of a watching world, your showy, empty display of reverence of law enforcement found itself under an attack it simply could not withstand.

You found your true allegiances assailed and you could not abide violence against them, despite how hypocritical that declared you, how exposed your fraudulence would be, and how irreparably the damage to your fragile mythology.

When it came time to choose police officers or supremacy, between those fighting for justice and a wave of inhumanity that carried your pigmentation, ratified your conspiracies, and shared your politics, the decision was instinctive: you had to align with white nationalism.

You had to preserve MAGA at any cost.

And so there on the steps of the Capitol and in the very halls of Congress, you watched Blue Lives crushed behind the force of a traitorous mob, you saw Blue Lives being beaten to death with the flags of your two white saviors, you saw Blue Lives surrounded and trampled by a throng of domestic terrorists.

And in that moment, all of your false stories burned away and all your empty platitudes dissolved; your black, white, and blue flags were torn to shreds.

And now, all that remains is you: uncovered and exposed and left to account for the depths of the heart that you carry in your chest and the truth about what kind of lives really matter to you.

Maybe it’s time to face the mirror.

No more white lies about blue lives.