On Inauguration Day, Celebrate but Don’t Forget

As I write this, Joe Biden is less than an hour away from being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. I can’t say with honesty I feel tremendous relief so much as trepidation. Trepidation is a step up from existential dread, and I’ll take what I can get for now.

I’m not afraid of Biden per se. By all accounts he is honorable man who genuinely wants to do his best for his country. I also think he takes other opinions and, thank God, facts into account when making decisions. He’s imperfect but not irrational.

I’m afraid that people will forget what Trump and his followers and creators did. They saw the worst side of America and used it as a weapon to get their own agenda through. The sheer list of atrocities the soon-to-be-previous administration committed, from caging and starving scared children and deporting their parents, to removing crucial environmental regulations as global warming reaches a crisis point, to punishing people of color for daring to ask not to be murdered by police, to making record profits during an economic recession created by their own mishandling of a pandemic… I’m missing quite a lot of them from the first half of the administration because the horrors kept coming. It is too much to remember all at once, much less respond to.

Don’t forget. If you have to, narrow your focus, but fix your heart and fix your community so this can never happen again. They got their way by exploiting hatreds and fears that were already there—remove their leverage by fixing your heart. Zero tolerance for hatred in your home, your social circles, at work, and in your hometowns. Pay attention to legislation and demand your elected officials listen to you. Put stronger structures in place so fascists, racists, and bandits can never control the entire government again. Seek official punishment and justice for the criminals leaving power today.

Never forget—this was a harsh reminder of how fragile our society is, and how easy it is to lose. Never let this happen again, and never stop demanding a better world.

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