In the past, this holiday has always been a casual glance back at presidents before. For me it’s especially about Lincoln as I have some admiration for his work. When I worked at the bank, it was also a cool holiday, an opportunity to catch up on work or on house work, whichever needed to be done more urgently. This year, though, it has new meaning.
The first taste of this new era (for me) of paying attention, of giving actual consideration to what a president does or can do and how important their job is, was during W. I had agreed or not agreed with previous presidents’ motives or methods. This presidency was the first one in my lifetime, though, to use a flat-out lie as justification to invade a country, to take lives, the lives of our people and those of the citizens of Iraq. He is also the first in my lifetime to put us into a recession that caused me and people all around me to lose jobs and/or homes and/or retirement. Along with the loss of those things we worked for goes also hope for the future. Past presidents did their thing. Clinton sent jobs away. That sucked. But W and then 45? We really should be past this. We know better.
Now 45 is threatening First Amendment rights. He’s making up lies to support whatever has irritated him on a particular day or whatever he thinks will get the attention he so desperately seeks. 45 is threatening countries with war and/or invasion. He’s reminding them often that he alone has nuclear launch codes and that he’s unpredictable. He could do anything at any time. He’s threatening cultures and nationalities and religions that are very much a part of America. They’re a part of us. 45’s followers are counting the hours ’til they can lock up everyone who is not them, the uppity women, the LGBT, non-whites, non-Christians, and 45 has not raised even a small objection; he’s the one who fired them up against anyone who is not them. 45 and his administration are looking for ways to get away with shoving aside our poor, our veterans, our disabled, anyone who they believe, by simply existing and needing occasional help, might take from them. We’re fighting for our environment, our educations, jobs, health care; we’re fighting to keep what we’ve got. We’re fighting for our lives.
But then, we really should be past this. Today we have to demonstrate again. We have to go out again, this time in the cold and rain in February, to remind our leaders of what we already fought for, what we already know, what we are desperate to keep. I don’t want to do this, but because some yahoos thought their race was superior or they weren’t getting what is due to them, we all have to suffer. Those yahoos won’t get anything for their terrible choices; 45 doesn’t care about them, not even a little. We have to go out and fight for the yahoos, too, to minimize the damage they did putting these greedy and/or incompetent people into places of power. There won’t be enough of us out there either. It seems a lot of people think fighting for our rights and our lives is silly. A lot of Americans have forgotten what people already gave. They take for granted all they have now, the rights and benefits they have as workers, as minorities, as Americans. At this point, we’re fighting not to lose what little we’ve gained. We, those of us who aren’t a straight, white, wealthy, Christian male, don’t even get to work for progress. We never were equal; we’re just fighting to keep the little bit of ground we had gained.
Link: “You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.” – by Dina Leygerman