Around the Bluhmin’ Town
Are you feeling okay? It seems that the inauguration left a whole lot of folks elated, giddy, joyful, hopeful, vindicated, depressed, discouraged, dismayed, angry, confident, and enthused. Have we become a bipolar nation? I am having a hard time remembering how we became so polarized as a nation. It’s been a long, difficult slug-fest and collectively, we might need to take a time-out. The elections are over, we have a new President and we need to find the path forward. Can we get along?
People all over the country have held parties, prayer groups, chants, lit candles, wept for joy, cried in despair, participated in marches and then, are left to pick up and go on. The pundits will point fingers or gloat, place blame or over analyze, take credit or hold de-briefings. But our ordinary (not to say unimportant) lives go on and we need to find that balance that helps restore our sense of community, faith and happiness. Perhaps our finest moment after an inauguration is that we get up, go to work, take the kids to school, make dinner, hold our loved ones close and keep on doing all the things that matter. We may be a house divided, but we still have plenty in common with each other. It is this great American spirit that defines us.
I recall being at the Boston airport on the day that the Red Sox lost the World Series in 1986. The Red Sox were in one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history, called by some the “Curse of the Bambino” after sending Babe Ruth to the rival Yankees after the Red Sox won the Series in 1918. Not being a huge baseball fan, I can only say that it was quite shocking and surreal for me to see dozens of grown men and women crying at the sudden defeat of their team, ending the Series. On a two hour layover, you would have thought that a war had started, a presidential assassination had occurred or a hurricane had destroyed the state. When I commented to one ticket agent who was crying that “it was only baseball,” he stared at me for a moment. (I hadn’t meant to be rude.) Then he replied, “No, this is not just baseball. It’s hopes and dreams and pride that was lost today. And all that is left is disappointment and wondering what could have been.” Ouch.
Maybe politics is like baseball? It is thrilling to win and agony to lose. It is rough having to watch the other team cheer, jump all over each other and hold up the trophy, while your side is left to head back to the locker room, pondering how some tactical error cost so much, ending things so quickly. Of course, baseball, like other sports, is based on the practice, skill, talent, courage, luck and strategy of a team to decide their own destiny. Politics is based more on the ability of the fans…We the People…to determine the destiny of a candidate or a team. We can sit in the bleachers, eat a hot dog and drink a beer, watch the game and then decide who gets the trophy. Another reason to love this country!
My fifteen year old grandson has autism and gets extremely focused (fixated) on things. He had one candidate for President in mind and acted as if his vote at school would be the most important ballot cast in this election. Some people stood in line for eight hours to vote! A ninety-six year old man in Iowa claimed this would surely be his last vote in a presidential election, and he was making a statement for his great-grandchildren who were not yet able to vote. My twenty-one year old grandson voted for the first time and said he was “shaking slightly” at the importance of what he was doing.
It’s been an emotional ride, electing a President. The beauty of our country rests in our democracy, the goodness of our friends, family and neighbors, plus the incredible ability to feel like our voice, no matter how young or old, makes a difference.
As one young teen said proudly, the day after the inauguration, “No more blue or red states…just red, white and blue states.” Now those are words to celebrate…God Bless America.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.