Friday, November 10, 2006

Spring is Coming?

I was in the Build-a-Bear with my granddaughter last evening, and I felt, for the first time in a long time, like I lived in America. “Blowing in the Wind” was playing on the store sound system, not Bob Dylan (and maybe that is more to the point, a recent cover of the song), but it still had the cannon balls ceasing their flying and the soldiers not being spent freely and all the Blowing in the Wind stuff. Then (because it could have been an aberration) the next song was “Black and White” by Three Dog Night. I had not heard these songs in public for five years; clear channel had ordered their minions to not play them, and the rest of the country seemed to follow suit. I wondered if some of the fear had already dissipated, or if it was a kind of open act of rebellion, or if I just don’t get out much. But in any case I was sticking with my moment of democracy.

Something that Christians and progressive hold in common at their core, in their heart of hearts, is a sense of hope, a dogged optimism. You wouldn’t know this by talking the most extreme of either group, the prophets of gloom and doom, who see apocalypse lurking in every shadow. But we for the most part interpret the least pleasant breeze as a harbinger of spring, no matter where we are in the calendar. The Democrats took back the house and the senate, Donald Rumsfeld resigned, they are playing protest songs in public, wow! We’re on our way! But in the past two elections around two million Americans were declared, by their pears, their fellow citizens, to be less human than the rest of us. In nineteen states there was enough support for the notion that homosexual Americans were not entitled to the same basic rights as the rest of us, to place it on the ballot to amend their constitutions; and in eighteen of those states it passed. Nothing is going to change in this country until hearts are redeemed. The people, voting in their own best interest, eviscerated a corrupt and destructive government; good for them. But do you think they could have found a little something in their hearts for their neighbor? Would that have been too much to ask? When the Republicans come back in 2008 or 2012 with some shiny new bauble, some promise that they fully intend to break, for prosperity or security or some other pipe dream, will the people forget the lesson that the past six, no twelve, years had taught them? Will they follow like obedient puppies, or will they stand their ground? Will these new leaders move America forward, at least keeping their promises, or will it be more of the same? Because, they have these two years to show they have not only a better plan, but the heart of service to stick with the plan and the courage to implement it. Let’s all hope that spring is coming.

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