Photo by Roven Images via Unsplash
A thread. Unroll please.
We made it.
We're six months into rebuilding America. Don't get me wrong: there's a long way to go. But today, July 4, 2021, fresh off the Supreme Court's decision last week to uphold ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, let's take just a minute to celebrate.
The second wave last fall killed 80,000 Americans. That didn't stop thousands of Trump-supporting mobs burning masks in the streets. But we were better prepared when some GOP leadership urged mask wearing.
Plus, the international team of medical experts and allied health personnel convened in Atlanta. A vaccine proves elusive, but at least we finally joined the International Pandemic Response Cooperative.
It will take years to fully understand what happened to voter registration in the months leading up to November: was it the time of self-reflection afforded by months of quarantine? anger? Tired of Trump syndrome? Whatever happened, records were shattered.
Who doesn't remember the lines, the free pizza and coffee handed to tired voters in America's disenfranchised neighborhoods? Even while the self-appointed 'militias' lurked nearby? And of course the #MailedIt campaign? Those images have already become iconic: *America showed up*.
@realDonaldTrump went noisily, but who even remembers what he said? Way too much excitement in the air. Remember when his first post-election tweet landed him in Twitter jail? (He should have gotten the hint, as the state charges started coming down earlier this spring.)
And the massive crowds when America showed up again in January, breathing a collective sigh of relief heard the world over. As President @JoeBiden now famously said, "it was either gonna be a disaster or a bump in the road, but you made sure it was just a bump."
It took the Biden admin less than a month to undo the executive orders banning Muslims, immigrant workers, revoking DACA, and shrinking the refugee cap. And now we have brand new agencies like the US Agency for New Americans and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission.
So many "resisters" are being called on to head these new initiatives. Amazingly, all this and no Supreme Court involvement yet! We had forgotten what competent governance looked like. #MAGA is now being used on social media to mean rebuilding America after Trump. It's poetry.
But there's still a mess to clean up. The economy is still in shambles. People are still afraid to spend. Additional stimulus packages haven't yet led to hyperinflation, but at least the policy seeds being planted now will save us from true economic catastrophe.
Policies like remote job creation, mortgage and rent forbearance, and loan forgiveness/tax credits for pandemic-related vocational retraining. Can't say the same for the private prison industry, though: their stock keeps falling after 2 quarters of operating losses.
And who could have predicted rejoining the Paris Agreement would pay such dividends? All of a sudden, foreign investment in renewable energies skyrocketed, almost like we were being welcomed back into the world with open arms.
Plans for massive solar farms near the unfinished border wall are well underway, with the former squalid concentration camps being repurposed into a new joint construction effort between the US and Mexico, with Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras set to join.
While we celebrate this weekend, we can't let up. The road ahead is even harder than the last 5 years. A labor of love, maybe, but labor nonetheless. And it's already under the threat of apathy. Apathy is what allowed 2016 to happen.
Rest assured, there are those who want it to happen again in 2024, the second wave of what some are calling the "Bigoted-16" virus. It's still around, so we have to #StayTheCourse.
We must keep swallowing the bitter medicine of tangling with the hard questions, acknowledging our history, and not letting our country swing away from the inclusivity and compassion that are today's hashtags. DON'T LET UP.
The memory of the last 4 years will fade, but race and gender income inequality won't. While we'll fight for improvement with newly elected prosecutors (thanks, downballot voters!), it's hard to go from deference to meaningful police oversight.
The 890 page George Floyd Act will pass, but legislation only goes so far. Divorce from racism will take generations, and it's a struggle for which we all remain answerable.
But in this moment, seeing our country come together, I've never been prouder to be American.
Happy #FourthofJuly, y'all.
Originally tweeted by Hassan Ahmad (@HMAesq) on July 4, 2020.
Reprinted with permission from Hassan Ahmad.
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