This blog is an extremely difficult one to write. I could very easily make this more of a speech or essay that went on for pages and pages. However, I do want to be respectful of the time you’re sacrificing to read me ramble.
This morning I was serving breakfast at my weekly shift with Charlie’s Place – a breakfast for the hungry and homeless neighbors around Dupont Circle. The church it’s held in is a polling place today, so while the guests were asking for coats or socks there was a line of people with stable housing and employment literally feet from them. My jaw dropped when I walked in and saw such a jarring juxtaposition. One of the staff members helped me find what I’d been trying to express from the moment I witnessed it: On one side of the wall were people with decent jobs and stable lives, while on the other side were people looking for similar jobs and living lives dominated by disruption. What is most sobering about this is how quickly we can all go from one side of that wall to the other, most often times through fault of our own.
I think it’s easy for everyone to appreciate and understand that idea. However, I feel like this election is an extremely similar situation and doesn’t seem easily accepted as such. We have the ability to find it within ourselves to look past economic differences that may separate us, but have an infinitely harder time when those differences are philosophical. Why is that?
I’m in no way claiming we should – or even could – agree on everything, but just as we don’t hold people’s economic situation against them neither should we fail to look past our political differences and remember that without knowing someone’s story we can never appreciate their take on the ever-paradoxical “human experience.” Linguistically a singular term, in reality the widest spectrum there is.
For all of us who get caught up in the age of immediacy and forget how recent “history” really is, here is a quote from Alexander Hamilton that sounds terrible familiar today…
“It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”
There’s a lot of doom and gloom going around today, but just remember: if the Cubs can win the World Series, we can make it through the next four years.