Barack Obama has been President of the United States for most of my adult life. He’s the first President I ever had the chance to vote for. I’m proud of the thoughtfulness he’s brought to every day in office, his willingness to be honest about his own struggles as a progressive, and of the efforts he’s made both to promote issues that affect women and minorities in this country and to enact meaningful legislation. Michelle Obama has become one of my greatest personal heroes.
I am still in complete denial about the direction our country is heading. I delight in the fact that our next president’s inauguration looks like it will be poorly attended, both by the American people and by members of Congress. I take a cruel kind of pleasure in the wacky proceedings that somehow pass as confirmation hearings, where guns are needed in schools to protect against bears and the Energy Secretary thinks his job is to promote the American gas and oil industry. But none of that changes the real and scary facts that lots of my fellow Americans think this is all well and good, and that white nationalism is making a very public comeback, and that our country is about to take a giant step backwards in terms of economic success and civil rights.
I had the chance to spend Obama’s last day in office at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s the newest Smithsonian, and it felt like such an appropriate place to spend today. Being there was a truly overwhelming and incredible experience; I learned so much. I can’t wait until it’s past the point of needing timed entry tickets and I can just wander in whenever I want. The lower three levels are all dedicated to history, from the start of the slave trade through Obama’s first inauguration. The upper levels focus on African American music and art, and on significant achievements. There is so much packed into this museum, it’s impossible to absorb it all in one trip.
I’ll be staying in my apartment tomorrow, avoiding the crazy people and pretending this inauguration isn’t happening.
Starting Saturday, the resistance begins. I’ll be joining 200,000+ people for the Women’s March on Washington, and then doing everything I can to make the world a better place.