This Big Day

We went to a brunch to watch the inauguration. It was at the home of one of the local Democrats -- a huge house, easily triple the size of ours, right on the water on the other side of the bay. Must have been 45 people present. In the Belfast tradition, it was potluck of course and the table was groaning with food. Most of the people there were from away (meaning not from Maine), most over 50.  

I learned something about myself while I sat there. I learned that I seem to have lost my willingness to hate.  

I heard around me snarky comments about the Bush family and then as the Bushes left, some really hateful wishes for them. And I almost started crying. Because moments before these same people applauded Obama's calls for leaving that kind of divisiveness behind. And I realized they believed that meant Republicans should change but that it was perfectly all right to wish terrible things for them.  

I am a deeply partisan Democrat. I have never voted for a Republican. It is unlikely that I ever will. I can't think of any policy of Bush's that I agreed with. But I don't wish him a terrible death. I don't relish dancing on his grave. I don't hate the man. I detest his policies and politics but somehow I have changed and I can feel for the person --the man leaving in ignominious defeat and failure, still the ne'er do well son. I don't need for him to have insight to feel compassion for the man, even while opposing with all of my being what he has stood for and done.  

If we are really  are to make a difference, really become the change we have waited for, we have to start here and be willing to abandon hate and be willing to find whatever sliver of common ground that we can, even if it is just that we are all human.  

At 1, I told my husband I had to leave. Because it was getting to me, the hate for  Bush and not just Bush but everyone associated with his administration, and I knew to stay was to say something and something that would not be welcome just then, not there, not today. So I smiled, said goodbye and came home.  

I learned also today that I can choose my battles, that I can choose silence when it is the better course. 

It was a splendid speech. I love the pomp and circumstance. My heart paused several beats when Ted Kennedy had to be taken out. It's a big day.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.