From Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins
January 20, 2021
I didn’t really get to breathe a sigh of relief until my kids’ bedtime tonight... When it hit me that I was tucking them in, that we were all safe, and that nothing had gone wrong.
Here’s something you might not have known: our Department of Emergency Management — along with countless local, state, and federal agencies across our nation — had made contingency plans for potential threats to our government infrastructure and government representatives on Inauguration Day.
Here’s something you might not have seen: in anticipation of Inauguration Day, our local Democratic Committee had scrubbed the names of their members from their website and social media. CHP patrolled the neighborhood of a local leader. Some community activists and BIPOC residents considered leaving the County out of concern for their safety.
Here’s something you might not have heard: in my first term as Supervisor, all of the members of the Board of Supervisors experienced threats to our safety, and some of our department and agency heads did as well. I have personally experienced threats directly related to policy positions I’ve taken. I have had to worry that standing up for what I believe is right for my community, for the future of all children, could actually endanger my own children’s safety.
This is what America has come to over the last four years: a country where you can stand up for what you believe in, and worry about being able to tuck your kids in at night as a result of taking that stand.
Today, I needed an injection of hope. Today, I needed an inoculation against the hatred that has bubbled and seethed to the surface across our country and right here in our own community. The glimpses I saw of the inauguration inbetween meetings gave me that shot in the arm I needed.
But going forward, I also need to live in a world where I don’t have to be thankful for not being targeted by violent zealots. Where white supremacists aren’t given a pass or an ‘atta boy’ by federal officials. Where science-based decisions aren’t needlessly politicized. Where we are free to disagree without fearing for our safety. Where we live in a common reality, rooted in fact. Where people lead with purpose, not pure pursuit of power. Where leaders stand for what’s right, and what’s real. Where leaders stand UP, with a backbone, rather than bowing to whoever’s in power just because they’re in power.
Today, yes, I’m relieved. I’m happy. I’m also angry at where we’ve been. And fired up about where we can go from here. FOUR YEARS, folks. There’s a lot of work to do, and we need to hit the ground running! (Good news: a lot of us have been running all along, so no worries there. We’ll just keep going.)
Tonight, after wrapping up a Coastal Municipal Advisory Council meeting with awesome Fifth District staff, I’m going to drink a beer and re-read a poem by a 22-year-old Black woman from LA, and toast to a Black woman from Oakland who just became the most powerful woman in the country. And I am going to say a prayer that purpose, not power, can guide politics locally and across our country for the next four years… and that civil discourse and democracy will prevail, because THAT is what makes America great. The community conversations. The problem solving. The late night town hall meetings trying to understand and help one another. The constant striving for better, together.