I respect John Lewis for staying away.
I respect the people – including some close to me – who are going to Washington on Saturday to protest.
I’m hunkering. I can’t watch the transfer of responsibility, of power, from the President to a reality-show host.
For all that, the dominant feeling I expect on Friday is relief.
This essay is being written on the national holiday for Martin Luther King, who went to Memphis in 1968 to back up striking sanitation workers.
It is written in honor of John Lewis, who went to Selma in 1965 to protest American segregation, and who, thank goodness, survived the beating and is still with us, calling the new President illegitimate.
How many people have been holding our breath since the election of 2008 – hearing in our hearts the lyrics by Dion DiMucci: “Seems the good they die young.”
Instead, came a more subtle version – what Justice Clarence Thomas might call “a high-tech lynching” -- conducted by Mitch McConnell, missing only the hood over his face, and Boehner and Cantor and Ryan, who could not coexist with a black President.
They screwed up the country, leaving a Rube Goldberg health-care bill that could have been so much better, and stalling on infrastructure and education. High-tech resistance.
For eight years, President Obama has conducted business with intelligence and dignity; he will walk away observing the rituals of democracy.
The main thing is, he and Mrs. Obama will walk away. I look forward to their books; I look forward to very rare glimmers of their children, leading semi-normal lives.
The country will now have to respond to the demonstrated rapacity of the new people. This new person has nominated people who cut deals with dicey nations to make money for themselves and shareholders, who demonstrate contempt for the majority as well as for government.
The current polls suggest that many people who voted for the man are now having misgivings. Did you see Charles Blow’s list of polls showing the people’s dis-satisfaction with the transition?
That’s right, the people out there who thought this guy was a fine religious gentleman and an American patriot and a savvy executive are now having misgivings. (Mike Pence, the token of the religious right, looks stricken -- the only man on his island.)
John Lewis is staying away. As always, John Lewis is way ahead on moral stances.
What plans do you have for Friday?
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.