Five years ago today, I walked out of my last radiation treatment. Two surgeries, four rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation. Today, I find myself wondering if I am strong enough for the fight (for our country) that lies ahead. - Margot Friedman
That sick feeling I wake up with every day since November 8 is still with me. In those half seconds between sleep and wakefulness I feel that something terrible has happened. Is it a death? Yes, maybe. Then I fully wake and remember that it was the presidential election.
On Facebook my growing "friends" list comprises Hillary voters who feel the same. Yesterday, a post by Margot Friedman gave me the jolt of strength and inspiration that has been lacking since election night. Margot wrote an honest post that reflected the feelings of so many.
"Today, I find myself wondering if I am strong enough for the fight (for our country) that lies ahead."
It was salve on a wound.
Those words confirmed my fear. This wasn't just any election. Something big happened to our country. Russia? GOP fracture? Gender backlash? Instability? Our press?
Her words also confirmed this truth; the fight ahead will be hard.
What is ahead is nothing short of saving our nation from a demagogue and the rise of authoritarianism here and elsewhere. I hope my representatives are doing the same, I expect them too. (Remember that the the President-elect invited authoritarian strong-man Viktor Orban of Hungary to visit the United States. There is no rationalizing this invitation. PEOTUS feels an affinity with Orban.)
That invitation made me nauseous, but it isn't in my stomach, it's in my soul.
Damage has been done before to the United States and we fought to fix it. The Civil War is one example.
Margot's post helped me feel strong again. Her words gave me strength. That is the result of our history of fighting for free speech, which emerges from free thought. Words inspire action.
We are not censored, ever. We think, we speak, we change things.
Something new has entered our country with this election; emotional tweets filled with lies done to shield appointments of extreme partisan cabinet picks, the rejection of National Security Briefings, the worldwide reach of private business that mixes national security and commerce with demagoguery, family members in the administration, GOP representatives that turn a blind eye to constitutional violations.
These are the things that destroy a republic. We were weakened just enough to have this happen to us. We have to sew up the hole.
I have taken inspiration from both liberal and conservative journalists. Everyday I look to see what David Frum and Sarah Kendzior are writing on twitter and Facebook. I check into Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker, David Corn in Mother Jones, and various others who I've been following for years such as, NoEmptySuits and StrayYallerDawg. There are new ones in this mix now, Cheri Jacobus, Adam Parkhomenko, Sergio J. Grant, Elise Kermani.
Their words seep in to me, bolster me, and prepare me for the fight to come.
Take heart in an interesting phenomenon that emerged in this election year. During the primary many conservatives sounded the warning bells about Trump and pleaded with their conservative colleagues to vote for Hillary, including President George W. Bush's speechwriter, David Frum who is a senior editor for The Atlantic. Frum wrote prescient articles about what a Trump presidency would portend for us. (He recently said there would be people in the White House who will make us very nervous. This was before the nazi's revealed themselves.)
Now that Trump is President-elect Frum's alarm bells are even louder.
He tells us not to concede the flag. He says that the people who are defending the constitution in this fight "own the flag."
When your traditional political opponents are aligning with you against a common enemy don't push them away. Create a larger coalition.
The flag is the symbol of equality that gave us Civil Rights, suffrage, women's liberation, marriage equality, and so much more. It is the symbol of freedom.
Don't give it up. Certainly, don't give it to the ones flying the nazi flag.
Remember some of David Frum's words, "The future of the rule of law in the United States is in question...You are going to need the anthem. You are going to need the flag."
- Jennifer Hall Lee