Morning Reading/Mourning, Reading
"What happens to a person, however odd this may sound, also happens to a nation, a nation being, when it finally comes into existence, the achievement of the people who make it up; and the quality of the nation being absolutely at the mercy of, defined and dictated by, the nature and quality of its people." -- James Baldwin
I've been working on a blog post about my micro-sabbatical in bits and pieces, and I'd planned on publishing it today in an attempt to just ignore the Inauguration, and yet, I can't.
I can't ignore the very real implications of Donald J. Trump's ascendancy to the highest political office in the nation. Or how much it bothers me that people I know, people I like, voted for Trump not because they are intrinsically racist or misogynist or ableist, but because they felt comfortable dismissing his racist comments, and his misogynist and ableist words and acts, in favor of casting a vote along party lines. It bothers me that they didn't see how their vote was, in itself, a misogynist, racist, ableist act.
I opened Baldwin's The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings this morning, at random, and ended up at the end of "The White Problem," one of the pieces he wrote around the time of the Birmingham crisis in the 60s. It's wholly and utterly depressing that the essay is as necessary and relevant as it was then; and yet, there is such a rampant, virulent anti-intellectual pulse in our country that very few people will read it.
Still, the quote above: I feel low when I read the quote in the context of today, when Washington, D.C. is going to be inundated with the shit-show grandstanding of one of our great failures as a nation, Donald J. Trump. And I feel better, more hopeful, when I read Baldwin's quote in the context of tomorrow, when Washington, D.C., and so many other cities across the nation, will be inundated with women and men marching together to show strength, determination, and solidarity in the face of so much hate, collective narcissism, and celebrated, glorified ignorance.