As I write this, we are 100 days out from the November 3rd election. Ever since election night 2016, I’ve been holding my breath. The Russian-engineered election of Donald Trump to the presidency was, for so many of us, a traumatic event. Every day since that terrible night, we have seen ever deepening shadows of oligarchy, tyranny, and torture.
As the litany of horrible words and deeds has spilled forth from Mr. Trump and his sycophantic entourage, I have feared for our country, for the future of our representative democracy, for the rule of law. He doesn’t just ignore our nation’s governing norms, he obliterates them.
Long before he took the oath of office, Mr. Trump sought to exploit our differences and divide Americans, to turn us into a nation of bitter rivals who talk past each other, excoriate each other, and see governing as a zero-sum game.
If there had been the slightest hope that a President Trump would exceed expectations and become even a sliver of a statesman after the election, that hope was extinguished on Inauguration Day when he bellowed out his “American Carnage” speech. His presidency, like his candidacy, would be that of a demagogue. He would play, relentlessly and unashamedly, to his base.
And if there was any hope that members of his party would stand up to Trump’s recklessness and savagery, that too was annihilated when it became clear that the senate and house GOP “leaders,” and their respective caucuses, would turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to any and all presidential wrongdoing. They transcend mere enablers; they are fully Trump’s confederates.
Over the last two years, the resistance has grown with the Women’s March, the rise of Indivisible Groups, and the abundance of new leaders stepping up to run for office. The 2018 mid-term election offered a life-line to our republic, issuing in a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Yet, the senate has remained in the grip of Mitch McConnell, a ruthless partisan who, like Trump, cares only for his own power and privilege; the country be damned.
Through it all I’ve held my breath. It hasn’t felt safe to exhale because the senate Democrats have been helpless to stop the Federalist Society’s hostile takeover of the judiciary, because our president has routinely alienated our allies and kissed-up to our enemies, often expressing his desire to emulate them, and because he sends anonymous federal law enforcement agents into our cities to suppress protesters exercising their first amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.
It hasn’t felt safe to exhale because our president shamelessly monetizes the presidency for personal gain and speaks highly of an accused child sex trafficker, while routinely denigrating democratically elected women leaders, because he demeans and dehumanizes members of the free press, especially reporters who are women of color, and because he has utterly and completely failed to address the pandemic ravaging our nation. Indeed, he has routinely made it much, much worse. This is, of course, a woefully incomplete list of Trump’s transgressions; but any one of them warrants his resounding defeat and removal from office.
Now, 100 days out from the general election, I dare to hope that the day will come when I can exhale, that our nation will reject Trumpism and its cruel treatment of immigrant children, of the elderly and disabled, of Gold Star mothers and prisoners of war, of those poisoned by lead in their drinking water and others decimated by hurricanes, of black Americans whose demands for equal justice have been too long denied; of vulnerable people of all ages and backgrounds who are falling ill and dying of an insidious virus.
I dare to hope that our nation will, in the words of our sixteenth president, be touched again “by the better angels of our nature,” that a government “of, by and for the people,” will not perish from this earth.
So, I will continue to volunteer and contribute to former Vice President Joe Biden. I will lend my voice to the resistance and persist in speaking my truth. Our republic and its citizens cannot endure four more years of unchecked, burgeoning tyranny. Until the polls close on November 3, we cannot relax; we cannot exhale. And when we prevail, the work of rebuilding our nation will lie before us. It starts in just 100 days.