The warnings are, frankly, quite dire. I’ve been following Rachel Maddow’s tour for her book Prequel, which is an expansion of her essential podcast ULTRA, and she always notes: prepare for quite a year to come. But the same warning signs are up across the political spectrum, whether you listen to journalist Jonathon Karl (Tired of Winning, 2023), former “Anonymous” White House author/Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor (Blowback), Yale historian and Russian expert Timothy Snyder (The Road to Unfreedom, On Tyranny), professor and social media history interlocutor Heather Cox Richardson (“Letters from an American,” Democracy Awakening) or, of course, Liz Cheney (Oath and Honor) – we are in for the fight of our lives if we hope to be able to recognize the US as a constitutional republic after November of 2024.
I believe them, and I am preparing. In ways both private and hopefully, with you in ways that are public, I am readying myself to be a staunch advocate for the institutions and guardrails of democracy, and to actively support a robust voter turnout effort next fall. It may be an uphill battle; there are storm signals in the wind that have nothing to do with the presumptive Republican nominee, and everything to do with general unrest and a wish that things – maybe everything – were different. In uneasy times, it’s tough to vote for those already with their hands on the wheel. And these are more than “uneasy” times – with actual wars devastating real lives and exacerbating tensions among people of genuine goodwill, our ability to listen to each other and work together has rarely been more challenging.
Which is why I mention all this here in December, as most of us enter into what is set forth as a holiday season. The thing is, we’re going to need each other to be at our most effective, as often as possible, and with as many hands on deck as possible in the coming year (and beyond). So we need to find cycles of activity and rest. We need to be able to take care of one another and ourselves, and to find both some joy and meaning in the work. We need to remember that all of it is life, and so celebration, song, sleep, friends, deep reflection and meaning-making are all part and parcel of doing important, hard work for a long time.
So I hope you are finding time for yourself. Enjoy the deepening dark; let it be a season of rest and reflection. Read more. Stare into the fire. Cuddle with someone you love. Celebrate all that is worth celebrating. That’s the only way we ever make anything better – together.