Friday, October 31, 2008

Secret memo

My original intention was to write something before the election took place but to be read only after. I didn't end up getting around to it. More relevant now are my "Reflections on election day," "Our election night party," and "Thoughts on local politics."

I will, though, share here a couple of things I wrote early on election day morning. One is from an e-mail I wrote to a sister-in-law:

Despite the polls, I truly don't know whether Obama will be elected. If he's not, I will respect McCain as my president; I'll wish him well; and I will seek to express any disagreements I have in an appropriate way. If Obama is elected, I hope the violent antagonism some people feel toward him will subside and that he'll be able to inspire and unite. And I hope the various proposals he's made will work as well as I'm sure he intends them to--and if not, I hope adjustments can be made pragmatically and with some degree of consensus.
The other is part of a comment I made in response to a friend who favors McCain but who had indicated his respect for Obama. I wrote:

If Senator McCain becomes president--which I believe is still a possibility--I will wish him well. As you said about Obama, McCain (if he becomes president) would be my president as well. Whether he succeeds or not--and despite my reservations about him--I have great respect for him. I believe that, at core, he is much better than he has sometimes come across as a campaigner. There is much I like about him personally. He has given great service, and he still has much to offer.

Even though I try to avoid the polarized attitudes that politics too often inspires, I'm sure I've overemphasized the negatives in my assessment of McCain. I think the nation can do well with either man as president--especially if all of us seek to cultivate an attitude of respect and goodwill.

Whoever is president, we will face great challenges, challenges I believe we will deal with successfully only if we can exercise sufficient faith, hope, and charity, in our political as well as our personal lives.

As you've suggested, we are witnessing history in the making.

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