I lost what little belief I had in time traveling heroes today. If they were real, they would have done something about the Darkest Timeline by now.
It’s been a while since I’ve revisited the Darkest Timeline here on my blog. The big picture got too overwhelming to turn into >1000 words every few days. I’ve been trying to focus on my small life with its small victories instead.
My internship and my website helped me land a full-time writing job that I’ll be starting on February 1st. (a decent salary! benefits! vacation time!) I’m moving into my new apartment with Jim (relationship milestone! adulting!) on January 31st. I’m finally playing quidditch inside Spartan Stadium on February 4th. (It’s gonna be a busy week.) I’m blogging at least twice a week and my 52 in 52 challenge is coming along well. I got my first pitch accepted and I hope to see it in print soon.
In any other timeline, these would be thrilling developments. Considering how down I was only a few months ago about the trajectory of my life and career, I should be over the moon over how much things have changed for the better.
I did a good job of ignoring things for a while. This week came around put that to an end by battering down the fortress of small accomplishments I was trying to build around myself.
The funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities is on the chopping block. That’s .002 percent of the national budget, so it’s less a cost cutting move and more of a plot by a strongman to silence the dissenting voices of artists. He wants to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Or, y’know, make Big Bird and friends turn a profit to earn their keep. Between Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, that’s how I learned English. Then I grew up to get a degree in it, not exactly the most profit making enterprise. Oops?
Speaking of learning, I doubt the Betsy DeVos hearings will stop her from being approved by a Congress eager to rubber-stamp whoever whatever President Trump (ugh, that’s the first time I’ve ever had to type that) puts before them. There goes any hope I had for going back into a career in education for the next few years. (I’m really starting to like this whole “getting paid to write stuff” thing better, anyway.) What the hell kind of schools are my nieces going to enter when the time comes?
Then today happened. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. I didn’t watch, but not watching doesn’t make Trump not-President. I did read Vox’s annotated version, though. It was same Trump, different day. Divisive rhetoric, a dystopian vision of an America that was actually improving. The Big Lie that a large-enough-for-the-Electoral-College minority of Americans bought.
The past eight years made me believe in MLK’s conviction that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. How could I not? I voted for the first black president after voting for the first woman nominated by a major party. We made a huge step forward in making sure all Americans have access to healthcare. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a stopgap measure at best, was finally repealed. Any two consenting adults can be married. A woman won the popular vote in a presidential election. There was a lot left undone, but the slow progress we made was still progress.
I am still desperately clinging to that conviction. I have to believe that this step back we’ve taken—no, this catastrophic fall—is the last, desperate gasp of a dying idea of America. Most of us don’t believe in that, if the popular vote counts for anything.
I still reject the idea of making America great again. Our greatness is in progress, in what’s ahead of us, not in the whitewashed past. This isn’t his America or your America or their America, this is our America. No one man alone can fix it.
But can we do it together? Yes we can.