JANUARY 20, 2017
"Today is a day of conflicting emotions for many of us - but it is also a day of action. Today we celebrate the peaceful transfer of presidential power that is the hallmark of our democracy. We also celebrate the conclusion of the country's first African-American presidency, a presidency that was defined by tremendous dignity, inclusiveness, accomplishment, and grace.
At the same time, we observe the inauguration of the man who led the racist backlash against our country's first black president - a man who not only "othered" Barack Obama by insisting that he was not born here, but who has also "othered" immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and veterans on his way to the highest office in the land.
Watching Donald Trump take the oath of office this morning was a civic experience unlike any I've had as an American. In the past, regardless of how much I may have disagreed with an incoming president on policy issues, I've always retained the core certainty that our basic American values of equality, inclusion, tolerance and mutual respect stood firm. Today, for the first time ever, I am uncertain that America's president holds these fundamental commitments. And for this reason, today does not feel like a day of celebration but one of question and worry.
But, instead of being sad, I am motivated. I believe now more than ever that we who hold these core values sacred must redouble our commitment to them at the very moment they become threatened.
We have entered an era of uncertainty as a nation, but now more than ever is the time for progressives to stand strong. Together, we are much more powerful than the forces of division and discrimination. I continue to believe that ours is a nation of people who are decent, inclusive and kind-hearted, and that rhetoric to the contrary remains far outside the mainstream of American life. We must continue to show this in everything we do. It is our duty to remind those around us that America is defined by an open, caring, welcoming sensibility.
As I move forward, I am reinvigorated to do good - to make lives better, the environment better and communities better; to protect and advance choice, equality, justice and the environment. During the 2017 legislative session, more urgently than ever, I believe progressive lawmakers here in Washington State and in Washington D.C. must clearly demonstrate this in our legislative proposals, our votes, our budget, our speeches and all our communications. I ask you to join me in this. Together, we can be louder than the voices of hate, coming together as Americans to protect and advance those values we hold most dear. If we stand together, we shall overcome."
-Sen. Kevin Ranker