Life is NOT a dress rehearsal. Those are the very wise words of a family member who overcame many obstacles in his young life to become a very successful physician in Atlanta, GA, and with his wife, also a physician, successfully raise three brilliant young people, one of whom will someday sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Those words should resonate with us all today as we take stock, and reflect on our post 2016 election “blues”. In fact, it might be wise to reflect on the history of the blues as a musical art form, and the socio economic conditions that gave birth to this distinct art form. Our people have usually been very resilient in the face of the harshest conditions we have faced, and we will be again now in the aftermath of this election and its consequences.
For all of those who said there was no reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, do you think she would have even considered Rudy Giuliani to be her nominee to be Attorney General of the U.S., and entrusted him with protecting our voting rights and other civil rights? For those who insisted on voting for Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson, will you be happy when Trump reverses every modest step taken by the Obama administration on climate change? For every person I heard suggest that the prudent course for our people was to write in ballots for Sojourner Truth, or “reparations”, do you still hold those naive and self indulgent views? For those of our people who did not vote in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Michigan, do you understand that under the next administration you may never have to worry about voting again?
No, life is not a dress rehearsal. We can’t reverse the hands of time and press a reset button. Those who know our history will recall what happened when reconstruction was brought to an end, and “jim crow” became the law of the land, when lynchings, terrorism, and church and synagogue bombings the norm. Will those who by their own pseudo militancy in the form of refusing to vote for the one alternative we had to placing Donald Trump in position to exercise state power now finally wake up to what may soon be unleashed on us, when no police shooting of an African American , or Hispanic, man, woman, or child be considered unjustified? Will those who think it would make no difference who has the codes for the potential launch of the world’s most frightening nuclear arsenal be willing to explain that belief to the peoples who would be in the path of that arsenal should it be launched?
Hillary Clinton was never the perfect candidate. Who ever was? She had serious flaws and excessive baggage, but she is not a bragging clinical narcissist, who lies with every pronouncement from her mouth. Would someone else have been a better “bet” to defeat Trump, had the Democratic Party not bought into the narrative the notion of this election being Hillary’s “turn”? I think so, but what do I know? She was anointed, and then ran a campaign that continually stumbled over her bad decisions on her private server and emails, her family’s foundation (despite its good work), her penchant for regime change throughout the Middle East, and her other exercises in flawed judgment.
As a trail blazer, she never bore a semblance to Jackie Robinson, Paul Robeson, Susan B. Anthony, Fannie Lou Hamer, or Barack Obama. That was not her fault, but too many people failed to see her for what she is, a decent person…hard working, liberal, and generally speaking, very well intentioned, but not a messiah,or a trail blazer. Forgive me if that seems like a harsh assessment the day after the frustrating defeat she suffered, but life is NOT a dress rehearsal, and all of us, all of the world had entirely too much at stake in this election. She did the best she could, and I applaud her for that, but…….
Those who think they can leave the country now, and find sanctuary elsewhere, I ask them to name a single spot anywhere on the globe where the person who occupies the White House will not impact their lives. There is no escaping the global consequences of yesterday’s election. It is foolish to think so. Those who chose to not take their responsibility as members of the electorate will, unfortunately, learn soon enough what blasé, or indifferent, electorates learned in so many other failed democracies at other stages of history.
What will we do now? I hope we won’t spend the day in bed frightened of the future. We helped define the immediate future, but let’s think beyond today. Let’s remember those who preceded us, those who brought us this far. I’m sorry to observe that too many of us did not do that yesterday. We can’t really blame James Comey, Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin, or any other person. They did what we should have expected them to do when given the opportunity. Adequate steps might have been taken at the outset of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to assure that opportunity did not present itself to them, or to others intent on undermining her candidacy, the legacy of Barack Obama, the independence of our judiciary, and our will to resist.
This is not a dress rehearsal. This is reality, the proverbial, “real deal”. Let’s remember that Trump was himself a seriously flawed candidate for many reasons. He remains the very unpopular subject of a number of law suits, investigations, and speculation over his business and tax practices. Hopefully, we will resist rather than flee, resist rather than acquiesce, resist rather than forget who we are. And, we will stand tall, hold our heads high, and… continue to fight the power!