Words of comfort from Dan Rather

From Dan Rather:

So Collins misses her moment to be a hero, and the old bulls win again. Trump, McConnell, Grassley, Hatch, Graham—the whole lot of them—win. Again. They are laughing, congratulating one another, and at least metaphorically are popping Champagne.

For most women and many men it’s a bitter, devastating loss. Which makes it all the sweeter for the old bulls, and for the forces of power, privilege and money everywhere. A sense that the nation’s climate of justice has taken another turn toward dark clouds rises. The age-old question for the country of whether we prioritize power, privilege and money over justice takes on renewed importance.

So I talk to the wife—the good, gentle wife—who is furious and deeply disappointed. Talk to my daughter—the lion-hearted eldest child—whose first words are, “Can we, will we survive this?” I answer, “Of course we can, and if we have the will and the spirit, we will not only, survive we will thrive. Eventually. But if, and only if, we are “get-up fighters.” Strong as she usually is, she doesn’t seem convinced.

So, I take a walk, to be alone with my thoughts and reminders to stay steady. Among the thoughts that emerge are these:

Cut through the clouds of the present, consider the long river of history, and one can see this as a breakthrough moment for women. To paraphrase the daughter who recently said in another context, “women have never had a better moment to be heard in politics, to make a difference.” That is, if they—and those of us men who support them—seize the moment (if they don’t miss the moment as Senator Collins has.)

What that requires is that women and the men who love them and hate what has happen adopt an attitude of “we can be beaten but never defeated.” Adopt it, cling to it and live it as a credo.

Be relentless. When things are bad, when the going is tough, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and carry forward. Also, maybe take as a goal what an old man once said to me: “keep trying, keep fighting, keep smiling every minute you’re alive; you’re going to be dead a long time.”

And recognize that you are not alone. Far from it. Look to your left and right, before you and behind you, at the millions who will support you on this journey for justice. Fill your lungs with the determined air of action. I find myself humming that old but powerful anthem of the Civil Rights Era. “We’ll walk hand in hand!” “We are not afraid!” “We shall overcome!”

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