The pendulum swings

Image from Wikimedia commons

Whether the outcome of the election fills you with joy or despair, we feel like we’re moving into uncharted territory. What will a Trump presidency really be like? Will it really make America great again? Or will it become a catastrophe?

It’s time for perspective. We’ve been here before.

In just the small portion of American history I’ve lived through, we’ve gone from left to right and right to left several times. I’ve seen eras of progress and eras of retreat. I’ve seen times when we’ve pushed ourselves towards greater freedom and inclusion, and times when we’ve given into our prejudices and fears. We’ve felt hope and cynicism. We’ve turned against each other, and we’ve come together.

The pendulum swings.

I’ve seen California turn from a red state to a blue state. I remember a time when we talked about liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. I’ve seen politicians who opposed marriage equality become its most vocal advocates. And politicians who protested against one war rush us into another one.

The pendulum swings.

But each swing of the pendulum moves the clockwork forward. In my lifetime, segregation was overturned nationwide, LGBT citizens are no longer shoved into the closet, and women have shattered glass ceilings in business and government. Although a woman hasn’t made it to the White House yet, it no longer seems an impossibility.

The pendulum swings, but the clockwork can’t be turned back. We’ve become dependent on the technology made possible by a diverse workforce and global economy. We’ve become close to our Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Muslim neighbors. We enjoy the diversity of people and opinions we see in entertainment and the Internet. Some may yearn for a return to a “simpler” time. But if it ever existed, it can never be recreated. And those who have been freed refuse to put the chains back on.

The pendulum swings. It swings back, but it also swings forward again.

Whether you wait for President Trump with anticipation or dread, know that we’ve been here before. I wish the best for President Trump. I hope that he will be a force of change our country needs. I hope he will live up to the standards expected of the office, be a president for all Americans, and put service to our nation above party and self. But if he doesn’t, we’ve survived worse. We’ve been through Watergate and a stained dress, red scares and Manzanar, Teapot Dome and Iran-Contra. Our faith in our democracy and our country is stronger than the outcome of an election. Our belief in our goodness as people and a nation guides us to right wrongs and fight to prevent new wrongs from happening

The pendulum swings, but we move forward. We endure.