It's Over; Now Can We All Pull Back From the Edge?
Pinebluff people, I have found over the years, tend to be pretty sensible. OK, so that's a generalization. And all generalizations, someone once said, are false - including that one.
So let me narrow the thing down and say that Hilda Mitchell, who lives in Pinebluff - and whom, to my knowledge, I have never met in person - has written a number of wise and sensible letters-to-the-editor over the years. I hereby direct your attention to one of hers that appears elsewhere on this page. I wish everyone in America could read it. But if that's asking too much, I'll settle for everyone in Moore County.
Among other things, Hilda says - in a message that (like this column) was written before the election outcome was known and intended for publication afterward - that we need to quit demeaning religion by mixing it up with politics.
"Next," she writes in a passage I find particularly moving, "write an invisible mantra across your forehead: 'Reconciliation.' Pledge to support our president, no matter who it is. Pray for him."
Listen to Hilda, folks. Please.
Or if you do require a little religion mixed in with your politics and are not quite ready to go cold turkey in that department, consider the passage from the Book of Common Prayer that Father John Tampa read during Sunday's service at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. It was the closest he came - not very close at all, thankfully - to discussing the approaching election, let alone taking sides.
Addressed to "Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges," the short and simple invocation goes like this: "Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation enabled to fulfill your purposes."
What the specific divine purposes may be for our lives, public as well as private, must always be open to conjecture and interpretation - in contrast to the sense of prophetic certainty projected with such conviction from some quarters during the seemingly interminable political campaign that has finally (let's hope and pray) terminated.
But if the New Testament says nothing else, surely it teaches us that humankind is supposed to be loving, tolerant, humble, understanding and forgiving. Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers. The direct opposite, in other words, of the judgmental, the vindictive, the bigoted, the self-righteous.
But enough of that. The point is that we have just been through one of the ugliest and most negative presidential campaigns in my long memory, and that's going back some. I think any sensible observer has to have been appalled and deeply disturbed at the levels of ugliness, polarization, incivility, dishonesty and outright hatred that has infected our body politic over the past 18 months or so.
Let's get real here. Barack Obama is not a socialist or a Muslim. (Not that there is anything wrong with being a Muslim.) Mitt Romney is not a ruthless robber baron out to ride roughshod over the working class. Both are patriotic Americans who want what's best for their country and its people. Whoever has now emerged victorious, the United States will survive and prosper because of the goodness and ingenuity and industriousness of its people, which are attributes that transcend party and ideology.
Now that this whole mess is blessedly over, or nearly over, my fervent hope is that we can all now pull back from the edge of the cliff - that we can depressurize, contemplate the dangerous directions in which we have been lunging so recklessly, recognize that the things that unite us as Americans are so much greater and more important than those that threaten to divide us, and reach out to those we may have come to think of as enemies. Maybe even invite them out for a beer.
In short: What ideally needs to happen now, to borrow a word from Hilda Mitchell, is for all of us to manage somehow to reconcile - to put this thing behind us, and move on down the road with some semblance of national harmony.
Here endeth the sermon.
Steve Bouser is opinion editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2470 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story