Reprinted below is an excellent Facebook post by writer Rebecca Solnit looking back on 2018. Her characterization of the year is worth the read.
George Takei just said, “Many folks are posting that 2018 was one of the worst years ever. But as the Buddhist saying goes, “Wisdom is like rainwater. It gathers in low places.” I will look back on 2018 as the moment we began to take back our country. We rejected Trumpism and our values were reaffirmed.”
It was certainly the worst year Trump ever had, and 2019 will make his 2018 look like so much winning. His empire, his status, his future are all crumbling around him; he is like a man marooned on a shrinking iceberg in, well, let’s say a witches’ boiling cauldron. But he got himself there through his own feckless endeavors.
It was a year the rising generation started to take charge, from the Parkland massacre survivors who took on the gun industry and the NRA with a kind of hell-for-broke genius we’ve never seen before to the Sunshine Movement that is recharging the climate movement with brilliant energy to the 21 young plaintiffs in a climate lawsuit against the federal government to Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who told climate negotiators to do better.
It was a year when the unprecedented organizing that began after the last election saw results with the blue tsunami that swept 40 more Democratic congresspeople into power–and what congresspeople! Two Native American women–firsts–and so many great individuals, blue candidates all over the country who won in hitherto red districts, to the old heroes returned to their tasks: Maxine Waters, Ted Lieu, John Lewis, Raul Grijalva.
One of the most beautiful stories this year is how the Native insurgency against a pipeline at Standing Rock continued to have consequences. One of them was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to run for office. “It was right after I left Standing Rock that I knew I had to do something,” she said a while back. That should remind you that consequences are not always direct or predictable. We don’t know what AOC will do, though she’s part of the young new genius at work at taking charge of making a better future. We know her New Green Deal is already a catalyst for what we want and can demand.
So much of what matters is incalculable and immeasurable: you could not attempt to stop a pipeline in the Dakotas on the assumption that it would cause a woman from the Bronx to run for office against a powerful senior Democrat and clean his clock and open up a bunch of new conversations about what we want and what’s possible. You just have to do what you believe in with as much skill and passion as possible and believe that it matters, and how it matters may be unforeseeable. The fundamental mysteriousness is where so much of my hope comes from, and the heroes all around us.
It was a year when states continued carving their own paths independent of the fucked-up feds, notably California’s international climate negotiations, a year when Kansas’s deep red enpurpled and even broke out in blue spots, when only massive voter suppression prevented Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum from transforming the south, when finally voter suppression itself became an issue, and some good things were done on it (in some places, while bad things continued in others).
It was the year after #metoo, and the space in which to note that white supremacist patriarchy is monstrous and inane continued to enlarge, and that dismal disaster become more obvious to more people, more normal to note, as it were. A year when Mexico not only elected the left-wing guy who probably won an earlier election but swept a bunch of women into power, Nevada achieved a women-majority state assembly, and numbers of women in the house and senate rose. The labor movement was revitalized with triumphant hotel workers’ strikes and, in several red states, compelling teachers’ strikes. So, a year in which there was some very good redistribution of power.
It was a year when the old order’s corruption and corrosion became more obvious and the new order swam into view. It was a year in which the best and worst of the future swam into focus, and a lot of people got down to work on it. It was a year in which a lot of seeds were planted. It was a year to to know that the future will be what we make it, and the work that needs doing is both urgent and exhilarating.
So I wish you all a happy new year from the Pacific Coast, where it’s still mid-afternoon.
It’s our job in 2019 to make sure the seeds we planted in ’17 and ’18 continue to take root and grow, especially as we start the crucial process of choosing a candidate to run against the worst President of our lifetimes. In that spirit, here is a tweet from Bryce Tache (@brycetache) embodying the spirit we need to bring to the process:
People are asking what I think about Elizabeth Warren running.
I think it’s great.
Others I want to run: @BetoORourke @amyklobuchar @KamalaHarris @TulsiGabbard
And here’s my 2019 promise: I’m not going to say anything negative about any Dem candidate.
Not now. Not ever.
The false media narrative is that Democrats are divided. I’m not going to contribute to that lie. I’m not going to give Republicans and 3rd party candidates ammunition for their inevitable attack ads. I’m not going to turn away a single voter – people we’ll need to win. I’m not.
The resistance is a marathon, not a sprint. And now, more than ever, we need to avoid infighting and self immolation. So please pace yourselves, play nice, and keep resisting…