Tuesday, January 20, 2009
THE NEED TO RETURN TO CIVILITY
The Presidential guard is changing today. Sitting less than fifty miles from the Capitol building, I am closer to the Inaugural than many of you, but I have felt far removed. In truth, I have purposely removed myself and my attentions from the events.
I didn't vote for President-elect Obama. Many of his policies go directly against my core beliefs, but he is going to be our president in a few hours, and I prayed for him this morning as I plan to do every morning.
Meridian Magazine featured an excellent editorial by Maureen Proctor, and it softened my heart further. There are many good ideals in Barack Obama. Here are a few of his recent words, spoken while volunteering at a teen crisis center: "don't underestimate the power of people who join together to accomplish amazing things."
“When all of our people are engaged and involved in making their community better, then we can do anything."
He said this is not a time for “idle hands.” Nor is it a time to stand back and cynically watch the nation falter. . . Everybody's going to have to pitch in," he said, adding that Americans are "ready to do that."
I like the tone of these words. Maybe all he needs now is for all of us to call down the powers and grace of heaven to guide him so that this positive vision is fulfilled.
The Meridian article also hit another wonderful point. Mark DeMoss, and Lanny Davis, two men of opposing political views have found enough common ground in their love of America and her core ideals that they have overcome divisiveness and become good friends. Together, they authored an article for the Washington Times entitled, "Civility Makes Strange Bedfellows” in which they call for a new civility in our public life. They've also formed a civility initiative which you can read about at www.civilityproject.org. The basic premise of the project is a threefold pledge which any person of conscience should be able to accept. The pledge includes these three promises:
I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
I will stand against incivility when I see it.
Perhaps just reading the pledge makes us each realize we need to tweak our attitude.
It doesn't mean we dilute our personal beliefs, or abandon long-standing values or positions. It's all about the manner in which we express our opinions and the tactics we employ to create change.
So today we'll have a new president. Living in a culturally diverse area, I can feel a change in people. Barack Obama embodies the hope that some cultural barriers are disappearing. That is a wonderful forward leap. People are generally more open and gregarious here in the Capital area. There is a sense of hope here.
So it stands to be seen whether Mr. Obama's vision fuels positive change or if it is mere rhetoric, but it behooves us all to provide a climate where the very best ideas can take root and flourish. Civility and hope are righteous principles. Let us all pray for our new president today and every day.