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?
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.