One did not even need to ask, the question hung so thick in the air the morning after Election Day. It was garbage day; debris wafted through the dry west Tucson streets only fueling the feeling of desolation. This was Clinton territory, this was one of many ground zeros across the country where the political left sought to dig in. It's fair to say by now that Obama conceded the populist movement to the right over the past few years, and it took the shape of a large beast that Trump rode into victory on Tuesday night while our lackluster combatant ground to a halt. The ensuing look of bewilderment that was stretched across faces the following day failed to fully encapsulate our predicament because in the back of our minds it's difficult to accept that populism no matter the variety can never have a chance of success. In this sense we revere the notion of the populist change that's defeated us. Americans have a penchant for revolutionary fervor.
In Imagining America, Peter Conrad states that, "In America's vast emptiness...there are truths to sustain any fiction." This observation of 19th century American wilderness provides us with an analogy for the history of American politics, which we continue to make. If our current state of shock and the decommissioning of Clinton is what it takes to formulate a strong coalition of the left that can reflect popular sentiment across the country then so be it. The momentum is ours to win. What is unacceptable is to allow ourselves to be demoralized to a point of political inaction. We must take national pride in the fact that through people's movements we have changed things on the American historical record for the good of all people, and that when the bounds of our system prove too stiff, it is merely our determination that stretches them.
This pride can be an elusive, contradictory thing. Given the brutalities lurking throughout American history it's difficult to understand what exactly to be proud of. In Achieving Our Country, Richard Rorty asks, "Is there then nothing incompatible with American pride?" As Americans we need to feel emotionally connected to our country in one way or another in order to have an interest in improving it, and our pride can start with our ability to reimagine America for the continual good and our willingness to struggle to achieve it. This achieving of our country is not a return to a time in our past that years gone by have made seem utopic, but rather a projection into the future of a country bettered by it's struggles and self correction. A country this bold needs not a static place in history and imagination, only the will of its people.