After the Election: Cautious Hope in the Idea of Democracy and of America

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Photograph by Element5Digital on Unsplash

The Awesome Power of Casting a Vote

Democracy: A Miracle Despite Its Woes

That democracy should exist at all — instead of the autocracy that has been the rule through much of recorded human history, and has to be vigilantly guarded against at all times — is in and of itself a miracle of human hope and belief.

Belief in the proposition that it is possible for people to come together and decide about their collective life through a different and better logic than the logic that might makes right.

The Idea of America Is Not Dead Either

The American Idea may still be in critical condition — some fear it is on precarious life support. It will require a lot more patient work, deep wisdom and political ingenuity to revive it, and help it regain its tremendous vitality and boundless hopefulness. But it is not dead. This the mid-term election of 2018 has made abundantly clear.

The Blue Wave Is Real Though Not a Tsunami

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Photograph by Element5Digital on Unsplash

The situation now is far more conducive to restraining the abuse of authority by a President with clearly autocratic ambitions, and a Republican Party ready to fall in step behind him for the sake of blocking its Democratic opponents and holding on to power. The days of one-party rule are over.

All in all, the Blue Wave (or Blue Surge) is a sign that all the many efforts of the ‘Resistance’, which has remained energized and engaged ever since since President Trump’s election, have borne some significant fruit.

Democracy is slow and cumbersome. No quick fixes for bringing about change. No magic bullets to solve problems. It’s a long slug, with many discouragements along the way. It’s partial victories, partial defeats, two steps forward and one step back.

The Idea of America is also difficult, with few instant gratifications.

Both require an enormous amount of labor, commitment and skill. But both are eminently worthy of our hope, our belief, our commitment and our hard work to see them more fully realized in our collective life.

I explore the worlds of society, politics, culture, history, civilizations, language, life lessons— wherever curiosity takes me. karineschomer@cmct.net

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