Hello! It’s the weekend, this is The Weekender. ☕
The tenants of my apartment building in southwest Washington D.C. had a patio party a few days ago. We gathered under a too-small cabana, a wide swath of people who’d been in the building for decades and those of us who moved in recently. Drinks sweated on the table under the blistering summer sun.
Whenever a new person joined the crowd, a similar exchange would ensue.
“How’s it going?” a member of the group would ask.
“Good. Well, good considering,” the newcomer would respond.
Cue wry chuckling around the group.
An air of unfurling disaster has clouded the liberal enclave of D.C. in the last two weeks, as the Supreme Court moved faster than even the most pessimistic court watchers imagined to reverse the right to abortion we’ve (theoretically) enjoyed for 50 years, to knock down a century-old New York gun licensing law and to shackle the EPA’s ability to regulate power plant pollution even while the devastating effects of climate change become ever clearer.
Reactions are big — hundreds swarming the Supreme Court building, raising their voices to compensate for the soaring fencing keeping protesters well back — and small — a young woman I passed by on my run worriedly agreeing with someone on the phone that “gay marriage is definitely next.”
And the hits will keep coming. In a final salvo, the Court revealed that it will take up a case based on the independent legislature theory next term, which has the potential to completely undermine American elections.
There’s no way around it: it’s a bleak moment for a corroding democracy.
During the protests over the murder of George Floyd, I remember hearing a common refrain from activists in person and online. Rest, they’d say, is a necessary part of resistance. Eating, sleeping, going on walks, hugging the people you love — those things make you whole enough to return to the fight against the unjust and the cruel. Weariness is hopelessness; despair is giving up.
The same goes for all of us who are invested in a better America than the one we have now. We can’t afford to look away, even when the last few weeks have been painful and upsetting. So instead we take a breath. We take a step back. We fill our cup with love, however that looks.
It’s going to be a long slog. And the only chance we have will ride on the backs of a thoughtful and engaged citizenry.
Rest. Revive. You’re not alone.
More on other news below. Let’s dig in.