Well, it’s the day after the elections and W has won again. With all of the earlier back and forth by the candidates and what seemed to be the most partisan campaign in my short memory (I just realized that I am now about 2/3 my parent’s age), what do we do that makes it seem to make our version of democracy work? Watching John Kerry’s concession speech this afternoon, a co-worker remarked, “That’s what leaves other countries scratching their heads. After all of the shouting, we come back together as Americans and pick up where we left off. In other countries they might try to kill the opposition. Here we try to embrace them.” I think that I would go much further as to say why. We have done all this as Americans, because of the Christian virtue of forgive and forget still runs deep in the country.
Although, I wonder if we are beginning to see that platitude of forgive and forget beginning to show stress. The reason I say this, is because of the last 4 years. In Texas, then Gov. Bush was known as one who could easily unite the two sides and get things done. After the 2000 election, instead of letting it go, it seemed that there was a marked number of people that thought that Bush had somehow rigged election or gotten in without earning it and that he was somehow an illegitimate victor. I can understand how easy this can be to not put aside our feelings, but in politics, it seems to be a necessary thing to do.
Now follow my logic on this, as the country is now in its post-modern phase, we are beginning to see some things that, at least in my mind, are things that fly in the face of that virtue. As it seems that more people don’t tolerate other’s differences and fewer forgive and forget. I think that some ways, this seems to be the reason that the country seemed to be as polarized as it is and to some why it looks like we are fragmenting. George Will on the ABC News coverage made an interesting observation. We are becoming more like Europe in that we are becoming more hard core partisan.
My prayer is that what John Kerry said in his concession speech about waking up as Americans the next day and healing the wounds from the race takes hold. Because I would like to think that my friend at work was right. But not that we should leave the world scratching their heads, but be the example of cooperation after great division.