When This Is All Over

One day this will all be over.

History testifies that all brutal empires fall, all hateful movements dissolve, all malevolent momentary victors eventually find themselves defeated and driven out.

Every time the pendulum has swung toward inhumanity—it has invariably comeback with even greater opposite force to bend the arc of the moral universe back toward justice again.

This will be true here as well.

America will not always be where it is today.
It will not be in such fearful, violent, jittery hands.
It will not be forever captive to a predatory minority.
It will not always be so devoid of accountability for its leaders.
It will not always be this dangerous to marginalized people and this openly hostile to diversity.

And while I take solace in these inarguable truths, they come with the bitter aftertaste of the realization that we have already lost so much that is simply irretrievable.

No matter how quickly some sense of rightness is restored here, there are so many things we will never get back:

The countless hours marshaling our energies trying to protect already vulnerable people from powerful leaders fully intent on pilling burdens upon them; moments that could have been used to make and to build and to create and to dream and to breathe.

The seemingly endless defenses we’ve had to mount against the most despicable of legislative assaults and Constitutional offenses from within—and the relentless friendly fire of our neighbors and families and friends and pastors.

The hundreds of sleepless nights we restlessly inventoried the sheer scale of the collective sickness we’d witnessed earlier that day, and hoping for miraculous mornings of respite that so rarely came.

The separations between us and people we once felt such natural affinity with; all the quiet disconnections, the social media explosions, and the decisive dinner table blowups—the countless relational fractures that will far outlive this Administration.

The trust we had in the center holding; of checks and balances and of good people who would not be compromised by momentary gain.

These things are gone for good.

So much time unnecessarily squandered.
So much precious daylight wasted.
So many friendships sharply severed.
So much faith burned away—
and the collateral damage to marriages and friendships and families and neighborhoods.

And no matter how much we’re able to undo the damage to our systems and how much integrity we’re able to return to our elections and no matter how well we’re able to nationally right ourselves—we’ve lost some critical stuff forever.

We’ll never get back the hours we’ve spent worrying.
We’ll never get back the days we grieved the losses.

We’ll never get back the words we’ve spoken in haste.
We’ll never get back the estranged birthdays and Christmases and funerals.

We’ll never get back the cherished image of people we love, that we had before all this began.
We’ll never get back the full optimism we felt about the place we call home.
We’ll never get back the young black men and transgender teenagers and migrant families and school shooting victims, who never mattered to those in power right now.

So yes, the History books will record the inevitable course correction of this season, and it will appear from the distance of time that we recovered—but we who are alive right now will know the truth from this painful proximity.

We’ll know that we will never be able to recover everything beautiful and precious and hopeful that we lost in these days.

There is so much gone that we will never get back.


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