The following post, written by The Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.
Last Friday, February 10, marked the tenth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s announcement of his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election.
At the opening of his speech as crowds cheered, the young Senator Obama from Illinois reminded them that this was not about him but about the country and its potential. He boldly asserted that the crowds didn’t gather for him but because of their hopes for the future of the country saying, “You came here because you believe what this country can be.”
These words, then harnessing the common hopes and dreams of many Americans for building a better and more hopeful America, are now embedded deep in the hearts of protestors and all who claim to be part of the resistance movement. These words are calling people all across the country to town halls, marches, and rallies.
From airports to schools and city centers to city streets the people of this country are showing up because they believe in what this country can be.
The imminent threat posed by the new administration and the Republican controlled Congress is stirring tens of thousands of people to make unprecedented numbers of phone calls to Representatives and Senators along with making record breaking donations to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.
Yes, since the inauguration people have been pouring into the streets and assembling in great numbers to resist the politics of hate and fear and prejudice. All across America people are fired up and ready to go!
More the people of this land are showing tremendous resilience in the fight for dignity and decency. Despite the very real trauma felt by millions of Americans following the election and still to this day as executive orders, cabinet confirmations, and other congressional votes inflict additional fear, anxiety, and distress on the people of this country and around the world, the energy and resolve for standing up for the deepest moral values that shape our democracy continues to grow.
You came here because you believe what this country can be.
This is the belief that unites people across every divide in this country in the common pursuit in fighting for a cause greater than any person or group and which transcends time and place. This is the belief that enables us to see light in the midst of darkness and holdfast to hope even on despairing days.
Starting with a Women’s March on Washington and in cities across the country and world and now continuing in town halls, at airports, and even outside a Washington D.C. school the hope for a better future, instilled by President Obama, continues to burn brightly.
Even as the new administration enacts policies that endanger the environment and disappears websites on everything from climate science to the rights and resources for disabled students while also reeling from ineptitude and the continued investigations into the scandal of Russian involvement in the election, the will of the American people to fight against these travesties remains strong.
No matter the executive order signed, the cabinet nominees confirmed, or the legislation passed by Congress the hope and will of the American people remains fired up and ready to go as more and more are joining the resistance to protect and preserve the values of our democracy and the rights of all people who make this land their home.