Democracy in Action

Half of us if not more are in pain adjusting from the results of an election we no longer understand. It’s been enlightening to talk to people, many acquaintances, who describe the same feeling of hurt, bewilderment, concern. We are united through our grief. And then there’s been the FB posts and the commentaries of many of our pundits, validating what could without exaggeration be called our gut wrenching experience. What’s to be noted is our reaction. There is no talk of riots, there is no talk of being destructive or violent. There is, however, determination to stand for our rights as The People, to demonstrate, to have our say, to have our voices heard, to be counted and not have our rights trampled. There is a petition to abolish the electoral college—please remember Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, as had Al Gore before her in 2000. There is talk of a referendum for California to secede—60% of Californians voted for Hillary. And of all the pieces by our talking heads, I found Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughter most apt, most succinct, and most moving, a letter where he enjoins us to work for the causes we believe in, to exercise our democratic rights, a letter that captures the mood of many. The expression of these sentiments are at a beginning announcing a time where people will not be complacent, a time when some of us will not allow our Muslim, our Black, our Latinos, our LGBT, our women, our disabled, our immigrants, our disenfranchised fellow citizens’ rights to be curtailed. It is a time which announces a challenge to the new president and his team. The question is how the new administration will respond. We are exercising the privilege of our democracy. How will the new administration exercise theirs? During an interview with Brian Williams the day after the election, governor Chris Christie commented that he had difficulty seeing how demonstrations held in several cities were spontaneous, and were not organized, but as long as they were peaceful, he recognized their right to demonstrate. This insertion of disbelief about spontaneity, which made me feel as if any organization could somehow be seen as conspiratorial, did evoke concern. Let time prove that concern unwarranted.Meanwhile let wisdom on both sides be a keynote: While those who protest need a resolve to remain peaceful, the new administration needs the understanding that their victory left out the very millions they now need to reach out to.