Democracy Demo: 11/4-11/11
It´s been a little over a week since I first landed in the capital, but as I´m sure we can all attest, it seems like a lot longer than that.
November 3rd was a true day of reckoning for the nation of my birth and the people that called it home: here, we were tasked to choose between democracy and authoritarianism, between the classic hubris of American exceptionalism and a slim, shining razor of hope that could one distant day excise this terminal cancer from our civilization. I don´t type this to hold Joe Biden up as some savior--again, these issues date back to at least the post-Civil War Reconstruction, when our American ancestors made the fateful choice to offer a poisonous truce to a nation of traitors--but knowing what we know about the past 4 years, the choice this cycle was clear.
Happily, The People made that choice.
However such repudiations are rarely made without incident in the country.
From Dred Scott and Tulsa all the way through to the renewed struggles of today, progressive movements have been met with vitriol and violence throughout the story of America.
It´s difficult to envision a different outcome this time around...especially sitting a block from the White House against an ¨unscalable¨ 8-foot fence designed to keep out peaceful dissent.
As I reached the barrier at the 1700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, reaching out a gloved hand to touch the cold reality of a chief executive gone rogue, the profundity of the situation became undeniably clear.
Here on this crisp fall evening, in the shadow of all the monuments dedicated to the men who purportedly made this country great, the inevitable culmination of their legacy--a man embodying America in its most unfiltered form--had now declared open hostilities against those who offer their transient mandate to rule.
Even now, a week after the election itself, the outgoing President and his few remaining loyalists in power have launched a full-throated assault on the democratic process. He has repeatedly incited his fanatical following to act outside the realm of electoral politics, creating an atmosphere rife with the specter of armed revolt. These are not the actions of a man with intentions on enabling a peaceful transfer of power. It is for these reasons that a civilian show of force in the guise of a celebration was every bit as necessary as casting a vote. In the wake of the election being decided at the ballot, that´s exactly what we got.
It´s difficult to describe the feeling of engagement one feels when taking the streets in solidarity with The People, but the word that first comes to mind is ¨electrifying.¨ The energy in the air crackled and sparked, arcing from body to body across 6-foot spans like the blazing magenta tendrils of a Tesla globe. Civic engagement is as much works as faith, and as we marched from Philadelphia´s City Hall to the Liberty Bell at Independence Mall, it was fulfilling to know that faith was not dead. We will need as much as we can get for the days before us.