Hope Revisited

I’m just giving you fair warning. This post is about the election. If you don’t want to read anything else about it right now, click away and move on with your life.

You’re still here? Okay…then let’s do this.

When I started this blog several years ago, I told myself I was going to do everything I could to keep it light and not dive into anything too serious…especially not politics. My original tag line was “Ramblings about life and some other things I can’t remember right now”. Then the presidential election of 2016 happened. The outcome of that election bothered me in a way that I still really can’t put into words. So I violated my own rule (twice actually), and wrote my thoughts about the election. The result was Hope.

I just reread what I wrote for the first time in four years. When I read it, I didn’t relish the fact that many of my predictions for how things would play out were fairly accurate. I would even go so far as to say that things have been worse in some ways. I was hoping when I wrote those words that I would be totally wrong. Largely, I wasn’t.

This year’s election was not the total vindication that many who feel as I do would have hoped for. Instead, it showed the deep divisions that still exist in the country, and these divisions go way beyond politics.

But I still have hope for the future, as have others for as long as our country has existed. In 1853, abolitionist and Unitarian minister Theodore Parker preached a sermon to his congregation that contained a quote that would in later years be shortened by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and used by many others after him (including the current President-Elect in his acceptance speech).

I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.

Theodore Parker, 1853

People like Parker and Dr. King worked to make the country better. They appealed to what Lincoln referred to as the “better angels of our nature”. The progress has been slow, but there continues to be progress. We, as a country, and as individuals, continue to improve. We can’t stop now.

Something that has been bouncing around the Internet the past few days is John McCain’s concession speech from 2008. I’d seen it all those years ago, but as I watched it again, it was touching how gracious and uniting the speech was.

This is the type of leadership that we need more of in the United States. It’s not about political parties. It’s about respect for each other and love of country. We can disagree with one another and still be civil. We can argue and still be friends. That is what makes America great.