This is definitely going to be the shortest post I’ve written since the very beginning of my posts on this website (the last time I wrote such a short post was back around July 4). I really have only a simple series of points to make, or perhaps one major point, and that’s that right now, as of last night’s concession and acceptance speeches in the United States, American citizens (despite the pundits’ remarks) are living in a state of grace before the hard slog actually starts again.
We aren’t living in the same state of grace which we were when President Obama first came into office four years ago and hopes were riding so totally high. We are four years older and wiser and have battened down our hatches to ride out a stormy four more years (if necessary) of embittered battles in a divided Congress. But it is still a state of grace of sorts that we are occupying. By this, I mean to point to the ways in which things are already undergoing a subtle change. First of all, concession speeches and victory speeches alike, though full of the crowds’ excitements and reactions, were gracious in the extreme. The two parties seemed to need this wake-up call from the American people to signify to them that yes, we are serious, they need to work together to solve everything from climate change to health care to the economy to all the other issues that emerged as concerns of the electorate. The speech Romney gave was brief, to the point, and acknowledged (despite an originally spirited refusal to concede Ohio) that Obama was once again the man in charge, who deserves our prayers and good wishes if he is going to succeed. In his turn, Obama called upon Romney himself to be an advisor in the coming days. We can only hope that as the two leaders have spoken, so may follow their adherents in the House and Senate.
For our part, we citizens can only prolong the state of grace of these opening remarks of the 44th presidency if we demand better from our elected representatives; by what the pundits were saying (even if they also predicted key difficulties with the process to come), the leaders are listening now, to the tune of vox populi, vox Dei (the word of the people is the word of God). This is not a sacrilegious sentiment when one realizes that consensus of opinion is a hard-won state of affairs, in which lion and lamb do truly lie down together (whomever one perceives these animalistic symbols to refer to). So, let us not hope for an end to reasonable debate, but instead seek a wholehearted desire to end partisan bickering; it is only by holding our leaders accountable to this extent that we may further extend our own state of grace as a people.
4 responses to “Living in a state of grace–let’s make it last as long as possible…..”
This is not just right on but beautifully written. The last paragraph is a perfect statement of how we should carry on and conduct ourselves. We cannot have the attitude “once and done”, I voted and now I have no further obligation, or I can’t make a difference. Thanks for writing it. I hope it gets lots of looks.
Thanks for your support and kind remarks. I do like getting lots of likes, but it’s also very nice to hear comments from the people who read and write most often (like you!). I never thought I would be so interested in hearing about politics until the 2008 vote, which was a sort of lead-in to this one, in certain ways. I really invested a lot of time and energy in my interest this time round, so I felt I should comment both before and after the election itself, just to be complete.
You have caught the moment so well, especially with this: “We aren’t living in the same state of grace which we were when President Obama first came into office four years ago and hopes were riding so totally high. We are four years older and wiser and have battened down our hatches to ride out a stormy four more years (if necessary) of embittered battles in a divided Congress. But it is still a state of grace of sorts that we are occupying.”
I too was struck by the graciousness of Romney’s speech–didn’t know he had it in him–and what seemed a basic decency. I pray the partisan extremists on both sides are worn out and will let the cooperation begin.
Yes, I too was struck by Romney’s attitude, though a bit ticked off at first that he took so long to concede. But it was a hard-fought election, and I think the best thing that can happen is for President Obama to continue in what he seems to be good at doing, which is leading for everyone. The Congress is another matter, since it seems to be tied up in partisan struggles more often and to be more aware of leading only 1/2 the country at a time. But we have to hope, as you note, that the extremists will learn true cooperation.