The Common Good

Seeking Reconciliation Before and After the Election

As the 2008 presidential campaign draws to a close, I've become increasingly less concerned about the specific outcome of election night and more concerned by what we will have positioned ourselves to accomplish the day after. What are our prospects for success in meeting the tremendous challenges we as a country now face when we've painted our countrymen and neighbors out to be devils and villains? How do we commit ourselves to meaningful action for the good of all God's creation and not become immobilized in our bickering over who is most right? I'm almost afraid that too much damage has been done: the fear mongering and race-baiting and name-calling and prejudice-rationalizing. How do we begin to engage one another and work together if indeed I am (by your definition or my own) a tree-hugging, homo-loving, abortion-permitting, other-embracing, terrorist-empathizing, socialist-leaning, un-real black man, whom you've been socialized to resist at all costs?

As I write, a song invades my consciousness, refusing not to be heard. I believe it echoes a way forward through this mess we've made for ourselves. The song is "Belfast to Boston," by James Taylor (listen). It's been my prayer for peace for about two years now

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