Turning the Lights Back on in America: The 100-Day Countdown Commences

destephens Uncategorized , , , , , ,

It has been 627 days since our world blew up and the lights went out.  Nothing has been the same since the dreadful morning of Nov. 9, 2016, when we punishingly discovered just how little Americans think of America.

Me? I was alone in a room and terrified the morning the lights went out — a 50-something white man, fork and knife in hand, discovering for the very first time how it felt to have my chair kicked out from beneath me and left looking up in a daze with nothing but scraps. The irony hit with the blunt force of a brick. Sure, the sun managed to come up that day, but there was no light.

Everything was blown to smithereens during the blast  … the House, the Senate, myriad state seats, the White House, and, of course, our sense of place. The Judiciary would surely follow, along with the willowy shreds of decency we had clutched even when it was all closing in around us during the most decent, sandal-free presidency of our lifetime. We were soft and gullible back then and too haughty to realize we had somehow confused our righteousness with security. We were lost, even if we thought the presidency of a great black man and an ascendant woman to follow was exactly where we should be. We had captured the high ground, but what good was that if our heads were in the clouds?

And we paid dearly for our naivety, even if it seemed to be so earnest, so American, and so bloody well-founded.

Wiping the gunpowder from our eyes we started doing what any survivor would: Dabbing at our wounds, we slowly collected ourselves and worked through the pain. We found our bearings and started crawling forward again, even as the reverberations from the gruesome day kept grabbing at our ankles. We built up and found the strength to pull free and get back on our feet again. We started looking up and reaching out. Misery loves company, you know. Talking would help. Meeting even more. Marches were for armies, and millions of American militants began strapping on their boots. Maybe the high ground wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Maybe just being decent, caring Americans rallying around each other was more than enough. You take the high ground, we’ll get back to caring for the millions of people who just need a hand up.

We have been marching ever since.

Now the most important 100 days or our lives begins at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, July 29. We have 100 days to finish what they started. Our way of life has been threatened and our sensibilities assaulted. We’ve watched as our environment has been laid to waste and our animals brutalized. The weakest among of us have been ridiculed, while the richest dine out on our dollars. Children have been called to cages while Trump dials up an 8-iron at Mar-a-Lago. A Supreme Court sees people as money and women as dirt cheap. Nazis are fine and brown skin is deadly.  The working press is fake and propaganda is real. The lying is relentless and the treason in plain sight.

When the first week of November finally rolls in we will be given exactly one day to get it all right, but what we do every day before that is just as important.

Yes, we are marching again, but our hearts must be full, our voices loud and our minds wide open toward continuing to build our army. We must be resolute. So pick up a phone, go to a rally, knock on a door, write that first check, lift up a neighbor, fucking shout out loud if you have to! Do whatever you can, and then do just a little bit more. Be a foot soldier, sure. But really, go ahead and lead.

And if you think you’ve done enough, or worse, somehow think it will not matter, ask yourself how you felt on the morning the lights went out.

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Lived everywhere. Started in Africa, then to America, then to Europe, then ... back to America, which lately seems to pride itself in going back. Almost made it 30 years in print journalism, before it all went bad. Really? Don’t think things are bad, eh? Who’s your new president, pal? How did that happen? Because it all went bad.

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