After two depressing years the legislature is coming to life in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is a reason for joy – even if the Democrats are still struggling with policy.
Sometimes you only sense how bad the air in a room was when the windows are thrown wide open. The U.S. experienced such a moment on Thursday. Donald Trump had just delivered another narcissistic show of ego in front of the circle of men in his Cabinet when history was being written in the Capitol one mile away: The first female representative from Iowa, the first black woman from Massachusetts and the first two Muslim women ever were taking their oath of office.
Even the contrast between the white macho world of the president and the multicolored diversity in the new Congress is noteworthy. Not only skin color, religion or sexual orientation differ widely. Above all, the Democrats have powerfully seized the majority in the House of Representatives. With that, the legislature is finally coming to life again. Power in Washington is divided for the days to come.
The new majorities guarantee neither better policies nor the reconciliation of a polarized American society, but do have a freeing effect. From now on, madman Trump can no longer rule the political stage alone. The almost silent majority of Americans is getting voices and faces. With their legislative power, they will control the president and invigorate the competition with their young, fresh representatives.
The Democrats are still visibly struggling with policy. The idealistic excess of some novices must also prove itself in the depths of legislating. Yet the Democrats have a chance to demonstrate a civilized and future-oriented alternative to Trump’s rhetoric of fear. After two depressing years, you can rejoice about the spark of hope today without reservation.