Okay the election ended before the Mayan calendar did, though not by much. I have just a word for any political partisans who might read this.
The election is over, and your man won, or lost. Your party won, or lost. Your ideology won, or lost.
None of that is nearly as important was whether you won or lost.
And how could you judge that? Simple enough. Compare yourself to four years ago.
Are you more fearful than you were?
Are you closer to a state of chronic political hatred?
Are you less able to give the benefit of the doubt to opinions that oppose yours?
Some years ago, now, during the reign of King George the Unelected, one day I realized with a shock that I was moving close to a state of chronic anger. I realized that only hatred lay in that direction, and hatred is delayed self-destruction.
The good news is that the condition is curable. It can be reversed by a decision, an act of will. We can choose not to live in a state of fear, and anger, and self-righteousness. But we do have to choose.
Isn’t the aftermath of an election as good a time as any to make that choice?
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”
Wordsworth wrote that 200 years ago, before telegraph, telephone, radio, television, or fax machines, let alone PCs, internet and PDAs. He should see us now!
I awoke this morning dissatisfied, aware that once again I had allowed myself to shallow out, aiming my attention outward rather than inward, toward ephemeral things rather than enduring ones. Or, as Henry Thoreau puts it in “Life Without Principle”:
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Mr. Lincoln, a proud day. We owe it as much to you as to anyone.
You owe it to yourselves. The angels of your better nature — as I said in my first inaugural address.
It is America becoming ever more the symbol of the world, isn’t it? That’s how I see it, anyway.
A symbol, yes — but perhaps more than a symbol. Perhaps you might say in truth and not in metaphor that is a magical miniature, still, as it was to a lesser extent in my time and as it may become to an even larger extent in times beyond yours. It is the form into which energies may be concentrated and hardened into reality.