I am sure many will use this trite metaphor this morning but I need to write it down so I remember what this feels like. It was like watching a train wreck. After awhile, the result was foregone, no matter how much you stared at it in disbelief and horror and yet, you kept watching. Hoping against hope something would happen to stop what you were seeing. You are baffled as to how it could have started. There were people, smart people, who’d engineered the train, the tracks. There were people, trained people, running the train itself. There were people, qualified people, monitoring the train, its trajectory. There were people, skilled people, who’d performed maintenance, checked for mechanical problems, before it left the station. And somehow, there you stood, watching this thing – this massive, impressive, terrifying thing – skew from the tracks going 100 miles per hour, taking out everything around it. And all you could do was watch as the train came careening right at you, at everything you stood for, everything you believed in, and then, then after you stand there watching, it slams into you. In that moment, you suddenly know that nothing you thought was true. Everything you’d thought could not possibly happen, not today, not in this country and this world which is supposed to be better, happened. And in that moment, you’re suddenly ok that the train is about to take you out because you’re not sure you want to deal with what comes next.
We don’t have that luxury. We survived the train wreck. What we do now, what we do next, and for the next four years, is incredibly important. It is OK to despair for a moment, to realize something we’d taken for granted was wrong. To realize we clearly were not where we thought we were to prevent the wreck. Now, we have to learn, we have to rebuild, we have to understand how we got here and how to fix it. I am feeling terrified and I am feeling motivated. I don’t know my country right now, I’m not sure I want to this morning but this morning will pass and tomorrow will come and the day after and the day after that. We need to fight, we need to work and we need to fix this system, this culture, this country which watched the train wreck with me. We can do better, we will do better.