In the summer of 2020 I published a book, Better Politics Please, yearning for a better way. Six months later January 6 happened and it felt like we were further than ever from coming together as Americans.
That book was written in hope, and I’ve felt awfully hopeless since.
Today I finished reading Barack Obama’s 2006 memoir, The Audacity of Hope. You have to read any political memoir, especially one released in the build up to a presidential run, with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of humble optimism and positive framing of life experience.
I’m not sure I have much to say on the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump. But this feels like one of those moments in history that we’ll be reliving and coming back to for decades to come. So I feel compelled to set down a few thoughts.
Every time we sing the national anthem we ask the question, “does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” amid the perilous fight and the bombs bursting in air.
These past two weeks, since violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capital, the answer has been in doubt. Not literally—Congress reconvened that same day and democracy carried on—but the spirit of the nation has been dazed as we suffered this terrible attack and reckoned with the deeper divide.
But today, Inauguration Day, as Lady Gaga belted out “The Star Spangled Banner” on the same Capital steps that two weeks ago held a swarming mob, it did the spirit of this nation well to see those broad stripes and bright stars so gallantly streaming.
Yesterday a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as a joint session of Congress attempted their Constitutionally mandated task of approving the electors for the next president. We spent yesterday watching the news unfold on Twitter and live TV.
I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m grieving for our nation.
There will be so many better opinions and commentaries and I hesitate to add to the noise, but I keep coming back to one thing that I think is important to emphasize.
An erosion of trust and a lack of common truth has imperiled our democracy.
Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I thought it might help to recap a few accomplishments. One of the big ones is my latest book: Better Politics, Please.
I came up with this idea before the pandemic struck, but really fleshing it out and making it happen was a total pandemic project. I needed that. I needed something to focus on in the midst of all the chaos.
A project I worked on for 15 years came to an end at the close of 2019. I went into 2020 not knowing what was next (whoa, boy howdy!). Better Politics, Please was a fun way to try something different. It gave me a lot of hope, despite a real lack of hope in the rest of the world.
I’m grateful for all the help that made this project a reality. I couldn’t have done it without the many people who supported it.
I’ve been too busy to blog. We’re in a weird time here in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic and probably the most important presidential election in my lifetime. That pandemic has caused an economic scare (never mind, you know, death), and things are just weird.
I wrote about it a bit this spring to capture my feelings, and those days feel so long ago. So maybe it’s time to do it again. (This is going to be a bit scattered, so I apologize in advance for that.)
A couple weeks back Senator Cory Booker appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to talk about George Floyd and the protests and the reaction. It’s an incredible interview and I encourage you to watch it.
The whole interview is about half an hour, but there’s about a 15-minute chunk that gets away from the current politics and focuses on racism and this moment in America that is just powerful stuff.
Booker and Colbert have been discussing the protests in Washington D.C. and how President Donald Trump cleared out Lafayette Park for a photo opp, and Colbert asks what it’s like in D.C. right now and if this is a harbinger of things to come. Booker launches into a very personal and emotional response that is worth your time:
It’s Presidential Primary Day here in Minnesota. I like to capture my thoughts in the moment, because sometimes things change so much and so fast it’s hard to remember what we actually thought.
And sometimes it’s funny to see how wrong we are.
Back in November I shared my thoughts on the Democratic Presidential Primary. Folks have actually voted since then, and everything has changed. Pete Buttigieg dropped out Sunday and Amy Klobuchar dropped out yesterday, making this a simpler race.
I just wanted the U.S. House of Representatives vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
It’s only the third time in history a president has been impeached.
I watched it gathered around the TV with my daughter, watching as the votes came in and waiting for it to hit the magic number (thank goodness for PBS where the vote count was broadcast silently with no blathering commentary).
I wrote about impeachment before, and my view hasn’t really changed. Though I did notice that instead of directly responding to any of the charges and saying he didn’t do it or it’s not wrong or it’s wrong but not impeachable, they made a whole bunch of ridiculous arguments. Perhaps my favorite was that the economy is doing well, so you can’t impeach Trump.
(Look at ’em, Trumping away!)
The Day’s Gonna Come
It’s a dark day for the United States when a president can so brazenly flout the rule of law, and even worse that a political party will blindly allow him to do so. I don’t have much hope that Senate Republicans will do the right thing and remove Trump from office.
They’re going to wish they did, because a reckoning is going to come.
My daughter’s social studies class watched some of the impeachment speeches in the House today, and she came home so incredulous about the ridiculous things all those old, angry, white men were saying (and she’s not wrong on that lack-of-diversity slam). It’s not even like we’ve talked that much about impeachment in our house. She figured this out on her own.
I think voters can figure it out as well.
(Well, I hope they can. I hoped the same thing in 2016 and was proven so horribly wrong.)
So What Now?
Call your representative and thank them for a ‘yes’ vote or let them know how you feel about a ‘no’ vote (or a ‘present’ vote, ug, Gabbard).
Call your senator and ask them to vote to remove.
Find out who’s running in your area, for every level of office, and get involved somewhere, somehow.
A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.