When Barack Obama ran for the presidency, we embraced the promise of hope. It is this hope that will endure beyond the presidency of Barack Obama – not in his successor – but in our youth. In spite of, and in the face of the coming presidency of Donald Trump who will be inaugurated today as our 45th president, hope endures through our young people.
Hope endures because young people learned more from the politics of hope than we have – because their learning was not tainted by history. For those in Gen X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation, our experience has tainted our hope – we have made progress before, only to have it walked backwards – not so for Millenials. Millenials saw the politics of hope bring to fruition marriage equality, the promotion of equal rights, and a respect for all. They believed in the politics of hope and embraced it, they have seen the benefit of respect for all Americans, not just those that are most like us. They have seen the benefits of waves of immigrants and of the potential of universal healthcare. They view these things as normal.
Now, they will see the counterpoint of the politics of hope – the politics of hate, espoused by Donald Trump, a man whose embrace of racism, sexism, and misogyny found it’s audience in a white America feeling increasingly marginalized. His politics resounded in a depressed, post-industrial America and in those who never approved of a black man’s ascendance to the office of the presidency. If supporters of Donald Trump believe that this message will resound with our youth, they will be shown – time and again – that hope will always win. Racism and intolerance are aging out – a new embrace of our multicultural America is becoming the default.
I end this post, unlike many that will be penned today – with a hopeful message. In spite of, and in the face of fear and hate, it is our youth that will carry the pitchforks that will bring down the backwards ideology of today’s far right. May we be fortunate enough to see that day when we pass our country’s leadership to the next generation.