In 1972 I worked on staff of the McGovern for President campaign in Texas. We lost big. I was twenty. When conceding the presidency to Richard Nixon on that night when he only won the electoral votes of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia Senator George McGovern of South Dakota said,
“We have found the greatest outpouring of energy and love that any political effort has ever inspired at least in my lifetime .. I want every single one of you to remember and never forget it, that if we pushed the day of peace just one day closer, then every minute and every hour and every bone crushing effort in this campaign was worth the sacrifice.”
I felt so bad, but also I felt so very much a part of something great that had been born from that campaign. That was not anything like what millions feel today regarding the result of this political cycle.
So … here is my question to the man in my mirror this morning:
“This time did we do all that we could do to defend our beliefs and secure the future we want for our children and this world?”
If the answer is yes, then we can say as McGovern did to his supporters that, “this campaign was worth the sacrifice.” We must remember the sadness and heartrending ache that this year’s campaign wrought. More importantly, we must remember that not only did we give our best, but we are determined now not to quit .. ever.
Like McGovern knew.. we will always have each other and the truths we together in our souls.
If the answer is no – that we did not give our best – then please don’t forget how you feel today because now there is even more to do.
McGovern ended his concession by saying,
“Now the question is to what standard does the loyal opposition now rally?
We do not rally to the support of policies that we deplore ..
but we do love this country and we will continue to beckon it to a higher standard
So I ask all of you tonight ..
Stand with your convictions.
I ask you not to despair of the political process of this country because that process has yielded to much valuable improvement these past two years. The Democratic Party will be a better party because of the reforms that we have carried out. The nation will be better because we never once gave up the long battle to renew its ideals and to redirect its current energies along more humane and hopeful paths.
So let us play the proper role of the loyal opposition and let us play it in those familiar words from Isaiah that I’ve quoted so frequently,
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not fade.
God Bless you and good night.”
Time for you and I to become the loyal opposition?
Michael Ignatieff, former leader of the loyal opposition in the Canadian House of Commons, said in a 2012 address at Stanford University:
“The opposition performs an adversarial function critical to democracy itself… Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law.”
“Not my President, not today,” many across the nation yelled.
One college student showed CNN a sign that said, “I still can’t believe I have to protest for civil rights.”
“We don’t feel the government is hearing our voices when we say Donald Trump is not our president. The fact that he’s our new president says a lot about where our future and our generations are heading.,” said UC Berkeley sophomore Esmeralda Cortez, who was at the protest.
For millions of American Muslims, black and Latino voters, gays and lesbians, immigrants, people with disabilities, Jews, women and others offended by Trump during the long run-up to Election Day, Wednesday morning brought a looming sense of dread.
The following are thoughts from folks who could become the next members of the loyal opposition:
Katie R Yesterday at 3:46am · Teach For America Special Education Teacher · Philadelphia, PA
“I feel like I can’t breathe and all I can think about is what I’m going to tell my kids today.”
Shea H Yesterday at 4:11am · Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) Teacher – Plano, TX ·
“I woke up this morning heartbroken and sick to my stomach. I don’t know how to face the day and my sweet little students. Knowing this is their future. I have to put all my faith and trust in God that his plan is always bigger and better than the one I see in front of me. So I am going to try with everything I have to be joyful in knowing God is in control and I have a job to do today.”
Lori M Yesterday at 5:55am · Seattle ·Teach for America Teacher
“I’ve snoozed every alarm this morning… not because I’m asleep or tired…but because I’m scared. I don’t know how to be a teacher to my diverse classroom of beautiful students today. I don’t know how to face my students of color, immigrant students, Latino/a students, lgbtq students, female students, etc and tell them that America didn’t value them. I don’t know how to bring unity in the face of brokenness… when I am broken too.”
Lynn A San Antonio, TX – Certified American Sign Language Interpreter
“Up in the middle of the night wondering what the hell we will do now with no health insurance since Trump aka Orange Toddler will be President and he had pledged to dismantle it first thing. I am wondering what having no Social Security until age 70 will look like since the GOP has pledged to move retirement age up. I am wondering if none of that will matter anyway since Trump will destroy the earth first with unregulated oil and gas development through our treasured National Parks, and his insistence that Global warming is just a plot started by the Chinese. I am trying to decide if I want to live through the nuclear winter/fallout that will come when he starts a war over some perceived personal slight. I am also pondering the welfare of that hairy orange animal, living atop his expansive head.”
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT @ADtheBAND 12:14 AM – 9 Nov 2016
“Donald Trump has won. Now is a test of everyone’s faith and character. #GodBeWithUs”
Jennifer G November 8 at 11:30pm · Seattle · Special Education Leader
“Trump might become THE president of the United States, but he will never be MY president. As a woman, I refuse to accept a president who has so little respect for my gender. As an educator of special needs students, I refuse to accept someone who mocks people with disabilities. As an educator who has worked with wonderful students and families of many races, religions, countries of origin, and sexual/gender orientation, I refuse to accept someone who chooses to foster hate, fear and intolerance. As a woman who was groped while walking down the street in broad daylight as a young teenager, I refuse to accept someone who thinks it is his privilege to engage in, and joke about this sort of behavior. As a person who strives for peace, I refuse to accept someone who encourages violence. As a person who tries to think rationally and logically, I refuse to accept someone who spews misinformation and has such little regard for the truth. As a Christian, I refuse to accept someone who lives his life so, so far from basic Christian and human values. As I wrote months ago, this election is not about politics. It is about what we value – as individuals and as a country. I do not accept Trump’s values and am heartsick that so many people appeared to do so.”
Rose G Yesterday at 6:00am · feeling amused at 7th Ward of New Orleans. On the Claiborne bridge downtown someone tagged
“fuck this racist asshole president –A”
Not A #PLL
Maggie Gyllenhaal @mgyllenhaal 5:13 AM – 9 Nov 2016 Actor
“Despair does nothing for me this morning. I’m looking for hope wherever I can find it. This “will be a test of our seriousness and resolve”
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Perhaps we can bring the day when children will learn from their earliest days that being fully man and fully woman means to give one’s life to the liberation of the brother [and sister] who suffers. It is up to each one of us. It won’t happen unless we decide to use our lives to show the way.” – Cesar Chavez
BOULDER, Colo. – Dozens of teens in Boulder walked out of class to protest what they say is Donald Trump’s message of hate.
The Daily Camera reports that about 100 Boulder High School participated in the protest Wednesday morning following Trump’s election. They held up banners with messages like “honk for love” along the street outside while others held a Mexican flag.
In an email to the newspaper, students said they don’t oppose the nation’s political system but oppose “the hate that is being broadcasted by our newly elected leader.”
Remember “Black Lives Matter”
Note: Please go here to look at this petition.
There is a time to grieve, to commiserate, to seek and provide support. Don’t suffer alone when we need each other the most. THEN, there is a time to be strong and principled. This will be a test of our commitment and resolve!
I try to draw whatever comfort I can from the good initiatives that passed in Washington and elsewhere in the country and the good people that continue to be in office and fight for the ideals that I believe in. I pray that Trump himself will find the will and strength to make himself the better person that he could be and the true leader that he has not yet become.