I love my Key West Bubble, but national dissonance is dribbling through today. I am unsettled at the prospect of living through the dismantling of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment, ratified by the states in 1868, can be boiled down to this: Oops, when we wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments), we were thinking only of straight white men with money. Perhaps we need to fix that?
American history is filled with “times like these.” Three times we have been here. I believe we will be OK. Though my rage boils over too often, I believe in Americans-in-the-middle. I believe there are extremists on the right and the left — and I believe they do not, do not, represent who we are as a people. They get the attention and the headlines today; spoiled children clamoring for their own ice cream cone, unwilling to share and willing to fight to the death to keep what they believe is theirs and theirs alone. Getting through this transition will not be for the faint of heart. But get through we will.
Being OK doesn’t mean the next several years will be moonbeams and unicorns. The next decade will be harsh, unsteady, inexplicable and frightening. We will, as a country, walk with that awesome shadow of the valley of death. History tells us that we must face our worst selves before we can create our best.
History will remember the march as the coming-to-power of Xers and Millennials. Though there were aging baby boomers aplenty in the crowd and at the microphones, the marches around the world saw these elders step aside to open the way for younger women.
The 2016 presidential election will, on hindsight, be recognized as the precursor to the catalyst that ignites the transformation of America from fragmented, angry and disillusioned into cohesive, collaborative and powerful. America will move away from six decades of tearing down to four decades of building up and then we’ll start the process over.
We will draw the line at the hard-core wingnuts at the fringes. I’m not inviting willful haters to my table. They’re not welcome. Period. We need to do whatever we have to to keep the haters corralled. And we must recognize there’s such a thing as hate born of unknowing.