J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita, in an interview describing his thoughts at the Trinity nuclear test.
As I watched the election results coming in last night, a feeling of existential dread began surfacing, and this story of Oppenheimer at Trinity came to me. I rarely discuss my political beliefs openly here, but I have to write something.
We have just elected, at best, a narcissistic sociopath that acts as a mouthpiece for white supremacy, nationalism, racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, fraud, falsehood, ignorance, and a litany of other horrific beliefs and behaviors. At worst, we may have just acknowledged that the United States will follow other formerly-great civilizations into oblivion, Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns. Not since we invaded Iraq and our son Stephen went to fight there have I felt so anxious about the state of the world. And this choice we have made will have deeper and longer lasting effects than even that endless war.
I don’t worry that the most apocalyptic fears will be realized. Deep and fundamental change takes longer than four years. But I do worry that we have crippled our progress in human and civil rights, science, ethics, compassion, peace, and all aspects of our better natures. I have to hope that our President Elect is ineffective at delivering on his promises and policies, and that Congress will continue its obstructionist ways and prevent further damage. It sickens me that this is the best I can hope for.
What have we done?