gold coloured human statue
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Pyrrhic Celebration

I expected to spend this day in a state of joy. What I actually am, mostly, is tired. We have spent the last four years in an invisible war, for those of us who aren’t straight white men, we have been constantly under assault.

The relief is there. But so is a sense of utter exhaustion that I don’t see being abated any time soon. The fight isn’t over. This is a victory, sure, but a victory which marks the beginning of a new phase of work to do.

The people that enabled fascism to enter the American democracy are still out there, and they are so used to getting their way that I don’t think the run on the Capitol will be the last tantrum we’ll see.

When we marched – women, lgbtq+ people, people of color, indigenous people – all we were begging for was to be acknowledged as equal citizens with equal rights. When these people mounted their takeover they were angry because they lost, they were like soccer fans rioting because their team failed.

The stakes were not ever the same.

And spending four years under an existential threat is . . . exhausting. Even if we were lucky – and we were – that the attempts to de-person us were so very, very incompetent, enough real damage was accomplished.

Things are broken that must now be rebuilt, but there are some cracks in the foundation stone of this country that I am unsure can be filled or repaired. Twice since I have come to voting age I have seen the candidate I voted for win the popular vote by a wide majority and still lose the presidency, the last time to someone who did historic damage to this country.

I am tired. Relieved. But so, so tired.

But the work cannot stop. If I believe the country can be better, and I do, still, call me a hopeless optimist, but I do, if I believe the South can be better, and despite it all, I do, the work must go on.

Today is the beginning of being able to do that.