October 26, 2013
A raw wind blows today. It cuts through layers of clothing and chills the body. Another raw wind blows in our political discourse. I wonder at times if our Founders would have done anything differently, if they could have seen into the future and the dysfunction of today. Our nations founders made a way to unite a diverse people through the Declaration of Independence. Among the signers was Charles Carroll one of two Roman Catholics. There were twenty-eight Episcopalian’s, eight Presbyterians, seven from the Congregational faith, two Lutherans, two Dutch Reformed and two from the newly formed Methodist Church. Some, like Thomas Jefferson pulled from different traditions, even to the point of his writing his own Bible, leaving out the parts he didn’t like. In the world they inhabited, that diversity of belief could have keep the nation from ever forming. Instead, joined against a common enemy, they forged a nation.
What is remarkable is that we exist at all. A Civil War divided our nation, with the dead forming rivers of blood on the battlefields. A lesson that we must never again become so divided that we lose our unity of purpose. Still, suspicions gather force. Trust is broken, with each side believing the other has an ulterior and sinister purpose. How does one move beyond that broken trust? It was refreshing to see the women Senators gathering together to talk about their common concerns during the recent shutdown. It is strange how a common meal, bread broken together, can drop barriers. Discovering the humanity of one’s political foes allows a person to listen and to hear the why of the others position. Maybe we should just set up some potlucks in Washington where all are invited. We might find what unites us is far greater than what divides us.