On the evening of November 8, 2017 I was contemplating moving to another country. As a computer programmer, I knew it would be relatively easy for me to get a job and legal work status in many places around the world. A country that could elect Donald Trump was not a place I wanted to call home. I did not want the face of my country to be ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, dishonesty, laziness, and incompetence. I would not let a man as hateful and dishonest as Trump into my home. I would not leave a man who brags about his ability to get away with sexual assault and barging in to the changing rooms for teenage girls alone with my nieces. I was and still am disgusted that so many of my fellow citizens could look past the racism, the mocking of the disabled, the lies, the cheating, the awful treatment of women and make the face of the United States the face of America at its absolute worst.
The next day, after I had calmed down some, I thought of all the history I have learned over the years. I thought of a childhood visit to Gettysburg and more recent visits to the battlefields of Normandy in France. Both locations have acres dedicated as “a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live” as Lincoln said.
I had stood over the graves of those who had charged into rifle, cannon, and machine gun fire to deliver this country from the bigotry, hatred and ignorance that threatened the country and the world then.
On the field at Gettysburg, Lincoln delivered not just a eulogy for the dead of that battle. He made a solemn vow on behalf of the United States that is just as binding today as it was in 1863. We have faced and will always face a fight with the darkness that seeks to rob us of our freedom using the tools of hate, ignorance, and delusion. That fight must be taken up by all who love this country whether fighting the idea that one race can hold another as property or the idea that a master race can systematically murder millions or the idea that Mexicans are rapists and all Muslims are violent terrorists. It is the same hate, the same bigotry, the same ignorance. So I now take up the cause Lincoln set forth so long ago, one that other Americans have taken up in the past and will again in the future.
“It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."