These are, in fact, the times that try the souls of men and women, but they are also remarkable times and stirring times. I am grateful to be living now, I have never been more alive, or seen more people rise to the challenge of being human in our world.
I have never felt less alone, or more alive.
Some people I know many – wake up every morning and believe they are living in the worst of times, some people see the best of times. I see remarkable times, good and bad, and they excite and challenge and frighten and inspire me.
I am different than before, better than before. I am learning what it is I believe and what is important to me. I never had to do that before.
I see a big wave coming, will, like big waves, be choppy and dangerous and beautiful.
This time has been a gift to me, it has challenged me to become a full participant in the life I wish to lead, to take responsibility for it, to become a patriot and understand what that means, to every day do things I did not imagine ever doing and did not ever do. To do good rather fight about what good is.
I have never in my life looked in the mirror in the morning and been more respectful of the face I see. I am trying, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.
The cup is half full, the cup is half empty. Life is what we make of it. I am stronger and clearer than ever.
Every day, there is the choice, are these times a gate that opens for me, or a door that closes?
I empathize with the suffering and anguish of so many people in our country and our world now, but I am also called upon to recognize how many good people are rising up to stand with our better angels. I am fully responsible for my life, and no one can tell me how to live it.
We live in a time when powerful men – superpigs I call them – can now be disgraced and dethroned by women who will not accept abuse and exploitation any longer and are speaking out to a culture that supports them more and more every day.
That is not a wave, it is a tsunami. It has never happened before.
We live in a time when comedians and artists and entertainers have formed a powerful resistance to hatred and greed and formed a new kind of conscience, they speak for so many of us and for our culture. They have transformed themselves into a voice that can not be dismissed or marginalized, and has great power. Sometimes, it seems they are the only voice we have.
This has never happened before.
Think of it, late night comedians are now a moral force, the guardians of our traditions, and Eminem, a brilliant and angry rep singer calls out the President of the United States for racism and falseness and intolerance in a lyrical freestyle that ricochets around the world.
And it has never happened in this way before.
We live in a world where hundreds of thousands of young people called Dreamers have come out of the shadows to declare themselves Americans and organize to fight for themselves and their parents and the millions of hard-working immigrants who have done our dirty and hard work for years.
This has not happened before.
Everywhere I look, I hear and see things I would not have seen or heard just a few years ago:
I do things every day that I never did and would not have done two or three years ago, on behalf of vulnerable people our government has abandoned, and who now persecute, and will not help any longer. We are just beginning our work, we call ourselves The Army Of Good. We were not even a dream last year at this time and that has never happened to me before.
My wife Maria has become a belly dancer, and she would not have been a belly dancer before these remarkable times. She and her fellow dancers are not interested in performing for men, or entertaining people for its own sake. She went to India to teach women to make potholders, and sells their work in America. She sells pussy hats. She makes art about goddesses and women's voices.
The belly dancers are not looking to amuse, they are standing up for who they are, proud of what they are and what their bodies are like. Many hundreds of women – many in tears – came to our Open House last weekend to see the belly dancers and cheer them on. This has everything to do with our times.
She has never done that before.
This year, more women marched for women's rights and values than have ever marched before, anywhere in the world, and they created a powerful wind that has just begun to blow.
This year, actor's and artists all over the country are speaking up for their values, and for the values of so many people in America. People like me no longer have leaders representing me in my government.
I am disenfranchised. I am appreciate the actors and artists who are speaking up for me.
I am grateful to the young people all over the country who have put on their black jackets and sweatshirts to challenge the Nazi's and haters and chase them off of our streets. I bought a bracelet from them and will wear it until Nazi's once again don't dare to show their faces among us and return to the sewers and dark places where they breed and live.
We have never needed them before.
We live in a time when rich and powerful athletes, most of them African-American, speak up for justice and equality and remind us that our country would rather hide from history and trouble than face it. They have taken on some of the most powerful white men in the world on behalf of those who can't speak at all. To me, they are not spoiled millionaires but brave people of conscience. They do not undermine liberty, they teach us what it means.
They are controversial and often despised, they are what the American flag and national anthem are all about. At a time when our government hides from fascists and brutality, they force us to pay attention to both.
Everywhere, people are joining things, doing things paying attention to things. For me, this is not a time of despair, but of a great awakening.
These are my remarkable times, I would not wish to be in any other place. I can feel despair or hope, weakness or strength. I am no summer soldier, these are the times when we find out who we are and who we are not.
The gate is wide open for me. I am walking through it.