It seems churlish not to say something about what has happened in this country that less than a lifetime ago could not guarantee every black man his right to vote. If nothing else we can be thankful that the world has changed in that respect. Is Barack Obama made of more solid stuff than the tinsel and glitter that pleases most voters in this modern age? I suppose we will see. We certainly ought to pray so.
We ought to consider as well that what happens to America — what is happening to America — is us. If we discern a decay in civility, a decline of thoughtfulness and insight, a pervasive faithlessness and unrooted longing, then we ought to consider that these things have not been done to us, but we have allowed them to become true of ourselves. Perhaps some collection of politicians can make things better or worse at the margins, but in the end we get the government, the businesses, the communities, the churches, that reflect what is in our souls — the present light, the hungering dark, and the absence of what was meant to be.
What begins now is a fussy period of building up and tearing down. The people in power will work to solidify their gains, reward their friends, and punish their enemies. Those rightfully tossed out the door will begin nipping at the heels of their vanquishers. All of them will fall to the game — albeit with different job titles — of snarling over scraps of wealth that none of them had a hand in creating. These people will always be with us, living out their natures.
My prayer is that the rest of will switch off our talk radio and our cable opinion shows and turn to the real business that has always been before fallen man, which is the reconciliation of his troubled spirit to something greater than himself. Polls show that a great many Americans believe something is not right, that the nation is off kilter, not what it should be. A great many of us yesterday voted for change. Pray that instead of speaking that outward, we whisper it back to ourselves.