The day before the inauguration, I pored over images of the 2017 Women’s March, and wept for the particular combo of horror and hope we expressed. That largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history, when 4.6 million people participated in Women’s Marches across the U.S., wasn’t billed as a protest against Trump. It was a march for what we hoped to protect and to create by harnessing “the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.”
A story we rescued on Jan. 20, 2017, “Tomorrow I march,” previewed our course for the next four years. “(W)e all need to become resistors. Our individual voices are not enough, but when joined together we have real power … No matter what the future holds my voice will be heard. I will not be silenced by my fear nor by my uncertainty.” After Trump’s Inauguration, Daily Kos swung into action, as we have done repeatedly since coming together in 2003.
Since then, Community members have written about the horrors the Trump administration inflicted on the world, perhaps even more than we’ve written about our hopes, but we certainly were not silenced. An aberrant president unleashed policies so anomalous that the word “unprecedented”—which is defined as “a never before experienced event”—acquired the supplemental connotation “appalling.” Another word that gained traction was “resistance,” when around the world, people resisted Trump’s policies. As President Joe Biden claimed we have done in other difficult times, “enough of us came together to carry all of us forward.” We marched for science and for Black lives. We protested the caging of immigrant children, white supremacy, and police violence. And after four years of resistance, we have turned around the degradation of our democracy, embraced cautious optimism, and are erasing Trump from the center of U.S. politics.
As of this writing, the list of most frequently used tags—shown across the top of the Daily Kos webpage—now begins with “JoeBiden” and just two mention Trump. (Guess which tag I did not add to this story!) Four years ago, Inauguration Day headlines on Community stories included the words “harm, narcissism, darkness, despair, bad omens,” and “Eye of Sauron.” On Jan. 20, 2021, story headlines featured words like “light, hopeful, new era, hallelujah, unity,” and “happy tears.” The 2020 election also turned around the connotation of “unprecedented” from “appalling” to “hopeful,” as the Biden-Harris ticket shattered records when it received over 81 million votes. We also elected three unprecedented candidates: our first woman, Black, and South Asian vice president, plus the first Black and first Jewish senators from Georgia.
Four years ago, Daily Kos didn’t forget there was light at the end of the tunnel and, as Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb, celebrated this week, we were “brave enough to see it.” During the long, dark years since 2017, we embodied that light, “brave enough to be it” despite tiring. This week, one rescued story spoke of feeling a catharsis because an “abusive relationship is ending” and we survived. Another story related moments during the inauguration when the author was moved to tears by “the relief of getting a tyrant out of power.” I was surprised to choke up seeing pillars of light illuminate the Field of Flags installed on the National Mall, not realizing how much I had needed a symbolic display of all the pandemic losses.
The 13 Community stories rescued this week suggest we are processing our relief at surviving Trump, leaving behind any Trump-fixation, and beginning to consider what comes next. Now, poised between the denouement of all we pushed to accomplish over the last four years and the prologue of all we hope to manifest in the future, I want to ask the Community—Have you recovered from our four-year-long resistance? Let us know in the poll below.
13 Rescued Stories from 4PM EST Friday Jan. 15 to 4PM Friday Jan. 22, 2021
Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years. You also can find a link in Meteor Blades’ “Night Owls” series, which publishes daily between 10-11PM EST.
I was at the 2001 Bush inauguration. I protested, along with 300k others. It didn’t look like Jan. 6 by committed describes what a difference two decades and party affiliation makes when it comes to protesting a president. Committed’s example illustrates that there is no “both-sides-do-it” justification for the Jan. 6 insurrection. The author participated in protests during Dubya’s inauguration and, to no one’s surprise, nobody was shot, nobody was hurt, and in fact, most protesters weren’t readily recognized as protesters. “I remember it seemed tense but no one seemed inclined to violence. At one point, the cops came up on horses in front of us and some started (to) chant ‘get those animals off that horse.’ Even the cops thought it was funny.” A long-term member, committed joined Daily Kos in 2004, and has written 261 stories.
My father’s madness by A Pagan in Arizona “marks the anniversary of the day my father’s mind finally shattered forever … arguably the worst single day of my life.” The author recalls how this “mind shatter” resulted in their father wrecking his home, tearing up carpet, pulling the phone off the wall, and ultimately being taken to the hospital. “I spent those two days clearing out the wreckage, making space for the hospital bed we’d rent for him. Making the place decent for the hospice nurses when they came. I can’t believe it’s been a year.” A Pagan in Arizona joined Daily Kos in 2020, and has written nine stories. Last week, we rescued a previous story about their father and Evangelical Christian Trumpism.
Dear Grandma by stilltilting addresses the author’s much-missed deceased grandmother. This meditative story moves from reporting the wretched state of current events to reminiscing about the lessons Grandma taught the author, including the value of a personal letter. The story concludes with peace, resolve, and the observation that letters, especially letters from the past, are “a special kind of magic that can make even those who have returned to dust live and breathe again.” Stilltilting joined in 2020 and has written 22 stories, with six rescued.
Vote splitting and undervoting in the Georgia runoff election by jtga asks why total votes, each, for Joe Biden, Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff in Georgia were uneven. Did Warnock’s race affect voters? The author defines vote splitting and undervoting, and analyzes how these things led to Warnock getting more votes than Ossoff. This is the first rescue for long-term member jtga, who has written four stories since joining in 2004.
On the way out, CDC’s Redfield blames Americans for dying at higher rates by avatarabbiehoffman riffs off an NPR interview with former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield which illustrates “how every member of the Dump administration is going to keep making excuses and denying responsibility, even as Dump’s power over them fades—maybe until their dying breath.” Like many Americans, the author “had no particular reason to care who the CDC director was until COVID-19 started spreading through communities in the U.S.” Avatarabbiehoffman joined in 2006 and has written 20 stories, with four rescued.
1776 Commission Report: Trump’s latest racist provocation by WB Reeves analyzes Trump’s revisionist attempt to undermine The New York Times’ eye-opening “1619 Project.” The author goes through the entire 41-page document—rescinded by the Biden administration on Day One—and responds to salient paragraphs. Every effort to white-supremacy-wash the accurate history of our nation is countered and dismissed, to show where the truth lies. WB Reeves has written 347 stories since joining in 2005.
2009 was a turning point in the rise of domestic terrorism. It hasn’t gotten any better by liberaldad2 describes how an Obama-era Dept. of Homeland Security report led to the present U.S. failure to recognize and combat domestic terrorism. The fallout from that report meant that “domestic terrorism was effectively neutralized within the DHS mission,” facilitating the homegrown right-wing/Nazi terrorists … and their bloody attempt to overturn an election. A retired California engineer living in the Midwest, liberaldad2 joined Daily Kos in 2014 and has written 137 stories, with 23 rescued.
Tears, better late than never by another barb shares a poignant memory of people not yet grieved. Reflecting back to 1966, the author remembers being young, bikini-clad, and needing a job. She served drinks to Marines at the El Toro base before most shipped off to Vietnam. She didn’t cry for the soldiers then, nor when some didn’t return, but the memorial ceremony for COVID-19 victims on the eve of the inauguration brought back the memories, and finally the tears. Anotherbarb joined in 2014 and has written five stories, with three rescued.
I’m a 64-year-old cynical white guy. Here’s when I’ve teared up during the inauguration (so far) by hammerinhank reflects on emotions triggered during the 2021 inauguration. Watching their 12th inauguration (starting in 1965 and missing only the one we shall not mention in 2017), the author details seven specific moments that broke through their cynicism. From musical numbers to simply hearing the words “Madame Vice President,” 2021’s event lifted us up and gave us hope. Hammerinhank joined in 2008 and has written 55 stories.
Black women are not safe in the hands of the law by PoeticKat begins with a historical perspective. “Prior to the Civil War, back when Blacks were (enslaved), we were often put up on the auction block stark naked. Sometimes we would be up there for hours waiting for our time to be sold off to new owners. We were treated less than human. We were treated like chattel.” The video of Anjanette Young, handcuffed and stripped naked by Chicago police when they wrongfully raided her home, reminded her of this history. PoeticKat has published two stories since joining DK in November 2018.
The tale of the purloined taxidermy armadillo by A Pagan in Arizona vividly describes a Jagermeister-fueled rescue (theft) of a forlorn stuffed armadillo from their favorite bar. “Ever look back on some event from your past and think, ‘well it seemed like a good idea at the time’?” This is A Pagan in Arizona’s second rescue of the week.
Tears and the road ahead by viragette begins with this sentence: “Yesterday I shed tears—from the road travelled and for the road ahead.” That opening expresses the release many of us felt during the inauguration; the much-needed catharsis that signals that we made it to this moment. The author goes on to compare this to past experiences that were the beginning of “unraveling, undoing, and rebuilding,” which are the processes we need as humans and that our country needs as it moves forward. This is the first story by Viragette, who joined in 2019.
More than one moment by Joe Quigley observes that media treatment of the inauguration has made much of the historic nature of Vice President Kamala Harris’ taking office—for Black people, Asian Americans, and women. However, the administration’s cabinet picks have been just as significant for other overlooked Americans: Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior, and close to the author’s heart, Pete Buttigieg for Transportation. “Any gay kid watching the coverage saw the exact same thing that women … and was validated by two married gay men being two married gay men as equal to any other couple in those seats.” Joe Quigley, who joined in 2014 and has written 374 stories (with 17 rescued), is also a cartoonist. A cartoon in this rescued story depicts a child recognizing themself in Mayor Pete and Chasten Buttigieg.
I received my first COVID-19 shot today, it went perfectly. by monamongoose reminds us of the value of government, specifically the Veterans Administration, where the author efficiently and quickly received a COVID-19 vaccine. “Twenty-one minutes from door to door, 15 of which were for them to watch me if I were to keel over. That’s six minutes to interact with nine people, three clipboards, and three computers.” Monamongoose joined in 2014 and has written 28 stories.
Josh Hawley’s religious supremacy disguised as religious freedom by Frank Cocozzelli shares the pernicious reality behind demands for religious freedom. “Claiming to enlarge fundamental rights while actually attempting to diminish them … is simply disguising oppression in the cloak of liberty.” The author centers Dominionist Sen. Josh Hawley’s role in this semantic game. “What the good senator truly wants is not religious freedom for all, but the freedom to oppress others.” Frank Cocozzelli joined in 2006 and has written 243 stories, with 42 rescued.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 6:30PM ET (3:30PM PT).
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