Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Better Angels

I’m writing this before today, the day after Election Day because I’ve always been more of a process than a product guy.  That is to say, I’m a fan of democracy and citizen engagement in general though when we get to specific contests and candidates I sometimes have a sad heart.

That kind of perspective is how I talked myself off that high ledge some months ago when the person I supported to be the next President didn’t get his party’s nomination. I’m not a poor sport (unless I’m cornered) so I will concede this is as good a morning as any to finally scrape that Feel the Bern sticker off my car’s back window.

None of us are surprised, I ‘m sure that despite what both sides had repeatedly predicted all election long if they didn’t triumph, the sun will rise this morning at half past six and set at a little after half-past four, getting dark earlier because of the end of daylight savings time Sunday and for no other reason. 

And if I may, while you’re outside this morning to bring in your newspaper, you might take a few extra steps beyond the porch and uproot that lawn sign of support that’s been in the yard since late August or so. It’s not going to get any taller, no matter how much you water it, especially now.

Americans did not invent democracy the scholars and historians tell me but we’ve been pretty good at making it work for us, despite mumblings and grumblings. Change in our nation’s political direction has always happened with ballots rather than bullets which, I believe, is another reason why we are so often  admired around the globe.

And while the contest for the White House rightly got the most attention, we had the good fortune to be spoiled for choice in a variety of elected positions by neighbors who generously offered their time and talents in seeking office. Not every effort was crowned with success, this time, but the beauty of our election system is that there’s always a next time. But in the meantime, thank you to all who offered yourselves for office.

It may take some time for our political passions to cool; that’s to be expected in a hotly contested election with so much for so many at stake but living in the heart of New England where American History is on every corner, I’m reminded of the words Abraham Lincoln spoke in his first Inaugural Address (in March of 1861) following a bitterly fought election in the fall of 1860 after which seven states had seceded from the Union. 

They were great words then and apply perhaps today as well.

“We are not enemies,” he said, “but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

“The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
- bill kenny              

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