Friday, January 20, 2017

Walking The Line

The line separating good and evil passes not through states, 
nor between classes, nor between political parties either -
but right through every human heart.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

At 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time today, John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, shall administer the oath of the office of President of the United States to this nation's 45th President, Donald J. Trump.  What follows after that simple, solemn act belongs in equal part to each one of us as much as it does to Mr. Trump.  Irrespective of whether he received your vote, your scorn, or your apathy ceases to matter today.  At this particular barn dance, no switching of partners is permitted.  He is it.  

The hard work lies ahead.  It lies ahead for him as it does for us.  Vigilance is no longer optional.  It is now a core requirement.  Perhaps, whether Mr. Trump received your vote, his ascendancy to this position shall force the far-too-large segment of this nation's adult population that has contented itself with sitting curbside and watching the parade pass by to actually engage.  Engage in the political process.  Engage in the exchange of ideas.  Engage in doing what is neither a Democrat thing nor a Republican thing but an American thing.  

On Sunday, I began reading The Road to Character by David Brooks, who is (among other things) an Op-Ed writer for The New York Times.   I have not gotten very far into it yet - although given its depth, I am not displeased with my progress.  It is, thus far, a thought-provoking and fascinating read. 

I thought about what I have read thus far, which includes a passage in which the Solzhenitsyn quote that appears at the top of today's piece appears, in the context of the bi-partisan response to Betsy De Vos, who Mr. Trump has put forward as his nominee to serve as Secretary of the Department of Education, and her testimony before a United States Senate Committee earlier this week during her confirmation hearing.  While Ms. De Vos has her defenders, I was intrigued to see among people I know (almost all - if not all - of whom are significantly more politically animated on social media than I) an almost uniform reaction to her apparent lack of qualifications to perform the job for which Mr. Trump has nominated her, which uniformity crossed political, racial, and socio-economic lines. Suddenly, it was as if Ms. De Vos reminded us that "it", whatever it may be, is an American thing after all.   

Perhaps that is why, four and one-half decades after the Daily News posed the question, I choose to believe that the answer originally given still applies and that, "the dope's that there's still hope"...


...and much work to be done to ensure that this particular song remains the same. 


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