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The morning after...
If only there was a pill.
While we count down the days, hours and seconds until next Tuesday, I find myself more preoccupied with questions about what happens the days, weeks and months immediately after…and despite my inherent “half-full” nature I worry.
In the past few posts I’ve tried to speak to the need for all of us to remember that the bonds of “common affection” that we share as Americans what we believe about ourselves and our country, particularly as expressed in our own families are far more important and stronger than the things that are inflaming and dividing us. In my heart of hearts I truly believe this. But then as I read, listen and view what we are thinking, saying and doing to one another it gives me great pause. Today I listened to the NYT Podcast “The Daily” about “The Spector of Political Violence” and it shook me…Not because it felt unreal or bizarre, but because it felt all too real. Long lines of gun buyers, from both ends of the political spectrum, white, black and brown, all arming in unprecedented numbers to protect themselves…from each other. All fearing what could happen if “the other side” wins or more in most cases, loses.
There are many complicated explanations for how we got here, but without a doubt in my mind The Celebrity Apprentice President has fanned the flames of hate, division, anger and fear more than any other President in my lifetime…and I’m old enough to really remember Nixon! I am not talking about political philosophy, about “supply side economics” or “statism” “socialism” or Judicial appointments; I am trying to speak to what I remember my Republican friends used to hold up as the highest qualification for leadership during the Clinton years, moral character.
I’m almost willing to put aside a whole lot of moral transgressions, from pay-offs to porn stars, to picking taxpayers pockets to make hay in private business to elevating political loyalty over expertise in every critical area of governance, to even blowing off the pandemic for political advantage…but I am not willing to look past a willingness to exploit the American people by encouraging hate, callous disregard and even violence to anyone who disagrees and by poisoning both political discourse and the electoral process itself as a sham, a hoax and inherently illegitimate, unless of course the outcome is acceptable.
We cannot survive the mornings after Nov 3 unless we put down our weapons and open our arms and embrace one another, starting from a place of common respect for the precious lives and shared dignity that are the essence of who we individually and collectively are. We humans live our lives in anticipation of the great unknown…knowing that we can’t know what all of this is about or what comes next…but we can choose what we believe to be the answers to those big questions, and what we believe makes all the difference in how we face each moment. I am hoping that as we struggle through our anticipation about what comes next, we’ll believe that at our core, what we share in those fundamental beliefs about who we are and how blessed we have been will overcome our fears and that we will find the way forward, slowly, at times painfully but very surely forward together. In the absence of a pill that will be my prayer for the mornings after.