I am an intelligent man.
When I decided to tune into MSNBC this afternoon to listen to the Inauguration events as I worked, I did not, for a split second, fool myself into believing that I’d be getting an unbiased commentary of the day’s events. (The bias on that network is fairly obvious.)
But after four years of constant and abrasive bile pouring forth from the very seat of our Federal Government, I felt I deserved the indulgence.
I am not easily fooled. I know what we’re getting. I remember the disillusionment I felt as I noticed how the Obama administration engaged in horrific behind-the-scenes drone strikes, how protesters were treated during Occupy Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline protests, and the endless wars that kept raging.
After the last four straight years of what could fairly be described as a cult, chipping away at our traditions and democracy, I gave myself this day to put all of that aside.
I do not have amnesia. I remember the heartbreak I felt watching Bernie get eviscerated in the Democratic primaries a second time.
I witnessed first-hand how even National Public Radio began to push the “socialism” narrative, knowing full well how it was going to scare people—knowing full well the vast difference between democratic socialism and socialism but pretending to overlook it. How Bernie came out swinging and was essentially defeated by every other candidate dropping out and giving their delegates to Biden.
Fortunately, after four years of sleepless nights, of looking at my little children and wondering if this unstable lunatic in The White House was going to start a war with China or Iran or poke any other hornet’s nests, I had no problem letting go of all that resentment.
I am not naïve. When I watch my Black and Asian female friends tear up and post memes about all the hope and inspiration they feel as Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President, I have vivid memories of crying when I saw how Busta Rhymes literally jumped up and down reacting to Obama’s first victory—only to witness what happened in Charlottesville eight years later.
That sickening white supremacy demonstration made me feel like we, as a nation, did not progress. I began to feel like the previous eight years were an anomaly.
I have been hardened by wisdom and experience.
But it is that very wisdom and experience that allows me to, on the one hand, know the realistic side to what we all experienced today, and on the other hand, permit myself to breathe for the first time in four years.
Of course, we wound up with an imperfect, establishment Democrat as a president—and that still brings me more joy than anything else I have felt in the last four years. It is symbolic of our entire nation.
Not perfect, but very much alive.
And after the last four years, I feel immense gratitude for just that.