Written on 02/14/2021
Jeane George Weigel

So, President’s Day Weekend. I’ve been wanting to get excited about Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day, but just hadn’t found the heart with all that’s going on.

I mean I felt celebratory over Biden’s inauguration, and thought I might anchor to that. But somehow my personal sense of betrayal by the outgoing administration has left me feeling hollow. How to celebrate? 

I listened, raptly, to the Democrats’ three days of impeachment hearings and was even more horrified than in the initial days after January 6th. But I also found hope within the trial. The Democrats are so passionate. And so right I felt. I despaired that some Republicans were saying their minds were already settled for Trump. How can that be impartial?

But I held out hope that enough of them would honor our history, hold to this great Democratic experiment, honor their oaths of office, and vote to convict Trump.

Yet that didn’t happen. Most did not carry the intention of this Republic and vote to convict. They did not vote against extremism, violence, hatred and attacks on our Democracy.

Though some of them did. Seven brave Republican members of the Senate broke with their party and voted to convict. That’s more than ever in the history of this country.

And then something remarkable happened. Mitch McConnell actually shifted my opinion of him, if only a little. I didn’t think that was possible. He stood on the Senate floor and condemned Trump’s actions and then explained why he, the constitutional scholar, could not vote to convict. And I understood his point of view. He went on to say that Trump could be criminally pursued now that he’s out of office.

Is it possible there can be some common ground?

My father fought in World War II to preserve this Democracy. He went to Nagasaki the day after the bomb because he was a medic. He could never talk about it. But being a Lithuanian immigrant, he fiercely believed in Democracy.

My child’s heart still has faith in our country and its government. Yes, the Senate broke it again today. Again. But they did not break our Democracy.

Try as he did, along with his enablers, Trump could not remain in power. Honest Republicans stopped him every step of the way at state and federal levels. They all said “no” to his pressures and threats. They followed the law. Because of them, along with so many poll workers and election managers, Capitol and DC police, the people’s vote counted and mattered. Jamie Raskin matters. Those seven votes matter. McConnell’s explanation and condemnation matter.

Forgive me if I can’t quite celebrate presidents this weekend. It’s all too fresh. But I can feel good about the bipartisan group of honorable people who checked this president.

So let’s observe and honor Democracy instead. Because while some presidents fail us, Democracy, as fragile and imperfect as it is, has held. Now it is up to us to solidify it and work to make this, “… a more perfect Union.”

May you all have a peaceful, healthy, three-day weekend. I hope this marks a true turning of a corner, a turning away from hatred, a turn toward truth.

Love to you all,