What happened to us this past four years? How did we get here? How do we never forget this experience? Experience, Chinua Achebe once said is ‘what we are able and prepared to do with what happens to us.’ So much happened to us the past four years. Just when you think you can’t stomach another chaos, another one happens and happens and they kept happening so much so that chaos became normal, even necessary for an administration built on fueling its addiction. We became addicts to chaos. How do we never forget this experience? How do we never forget caging children? Or banning Muslims? Or fine people on both sides? Or building walls? Or holding Bibles like props? Or a failed coup and insurrection? Or 400,000 people that have died as a result of failed leadership with this pandemic. How do we keep these experiences in mind? For today, for tomorrow, how must we never forget the past four years? And what are we prepared to do with these experiences?
My daughter asked yesterday what is an inauguration. I said it’s like crowning. We get to crown someone to be our President. Not like king or queen, just to take care of us and we do this every four years. This is how we renew ourselves. It too is an experience we must not forget. That a man, on his third try and after unspeakable tragedies in his life, will assume our Nation’s highest office. Perseverance is an experience worth keeping. That a woman, a black woman, a daughter of immigrants would be assuming the second highest office in the Nation is an experience I never want to forget. Determination is a worthy experience to hold on to. Experience is truly what we are prepared to do with what happens to us. It is also necessary for growth, in silence or in survival mode, with chaos, or to build back better. A lot happened the past four years. But I am prepared to move on from that chaotic experience into the hopeful one we all witnessed yesterday and today and in the days and months and years to come. I am hopeful but will keep all experience in mind.