From an e-mail reply I sent a friend who, like many others, is passing on much of the ink that's been spilled as she tries to figure out what to do:
It was undeniably grief that I felt by late Tuesday evening, like millions of others. I have urged friends that I talk to submit to it for the time being, and resist the urge to get into frenzied action. By yesterday I was able to pick the scab and read blogs (including the excerpt from Rorty’s work) and online news accounts of What Happened, but soon tired. I don’t know if it’s my age, or my temperament, or the fact that I grew up in an environment where my family and I were a tolerated novelty so have always been an outsider, but for whatever reasons I am not despairing. Angry, yes. Disgusted, yes, but not despairing. In what age and in what nation-state have people not suffered and died unjustly as one regime ends and a new one begins?
I disagree vehemently with Masha Gessen – outrage on the level of what is happening in the streets of our cities cannot and will not be sustained. White-hot anger is a force that eventually gets spent because it can kill the host. Unless we are willing to elect radical politicians to the Statehouse and Congress; and unless we as a liberal polity learn to tolerate that our elected leadership will become comfortable, and more conservative, and eventually accede to legislative decisions that stink of betrayal, then we are fooling ourselves. By the time someone is elected to office they have to be willing to “do the nasty” of politics or they will be ineffective. And who is willing to be the next Lyndon Baines Johnson, who by all accounts was a son of a bitch’s son of a bitch?