My eyes overflow every time I visit the Lincoln Memorial. Reading his words, absorbing their generosity and wisdom, I’ve wondered so many times what would have become of us, these United States of America, if he hadn’t been President.
Light to the world.
In 1906, fleeing the pogroms of Russia that targeted Jewish families, a little girl of four, her three siblings, and their mother left for America. She remembered nothing from the trip coming over, save for the moment she disembarked from the ship at Ellis Island. That’s when she saw her father.
There he was, waiting for his family, having sent for them after first coming to investigate making a new life in this country. At first sight, she broke free from the crowd of passengers and ran to him, shouting, “Papasha! Papasha!”
I am the inheritor of the courage that has come before me.
Of my grandmother’s and her family’s.
Of every member of our armed forces who serve this nation and place themselves in harm’s way so that I can have this life.
Of Martin Luther King Jr.’s and the civil rights movement.
Of anyone who has ever stood up to say that we must do better, that we are more than this.
Even when we fall heartbreakingly short of what we are charged with in our Constitution, I have always, always believed in our capacity to strive toward its ideals.
Which is why I’m writing this blog.
This November’s election is a crossroads for our nation.
It is not a choice between a Democrat or a Republican. If it were, I wouldn’t be writing this.
Instead, ours is a choice between becoming a failed attempt at democracy, a nation pulled under by a leader who uses fear to turn citizens against one another and subvert the rule of law.
Or a country that chooses to, when the moment comes, vote to bend toward justice, adhere to the rule of law, and hold on to — and hold itself to — the ideals set forth in its Constitution.
I know we’re tired. It’s been the year of a pandemic, after all. But we are being called to more, to what might be our most important action all year: voting.
In 60 days, let us rise to Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg:
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.