Sunday, January 20, 2013

a heckuva second half!

I just saw someone's Facebook post, and it said, "It's gonna be a heckuva second half!" ...which got me thinking - first, that I had no idea which sport it was the second half of, and second, that on the eve of President Obama's inauguration, this might be a good time to think about second halves.

The news, or at least CNN, has made a simultaneous fuss over both how much money is being spent for the inaugural festivities as well as how much less excitement there is this time around compared to last. I suppose it is the nature of our attention deficit oriented society that we are not able to sustain either our excitement or disdain for people, though we seem, on the whole, to enjoy the disdain a lot more.

I have had my share of disappointments in what I perceived to be opportunities squandered by this president in his first term, so yes, I've done everything in my power to be vocal about a public healthcare option and stringent gun legislation, because these are life and death issues that matter to me. But I also know that I have not walked a mile in the President's shoes. I don't know the day to day battling with a petulant and divisive Congress that he must endure, nor do I know the broader spectrum of information that he is privy to that must weigh into the decisions he is making.

So maybe for the first time in my life, I do not look at the job that the President is doing and see it as black or white, good or bad. For all the perceived luxuries that go with the office, I imagine that it is often a thankless and lonely job, and it must feel at times as if what he does pleases no one. So I cut the man a lot of slack, because he stepped up to do the best he could with the gifts he was given at a time like this. And every day, though surrounded by Secret Service, he nonetheless risks his life to do the job of serving the people in the best way he knows how.

So what do we want both for his second term and for our second half? (And being completely optimistic here, let's assume we're actually at the halfway point instead of well beyond it in our lives.)

Have we become so desensitized to war that we think we should always be involved in at least one at any given time? Do we really think that out of the 315 million people in the U.S. we don't have enough who want reasonable gun legislation banning automatic assault weapons and armor-shredding ammunition to outnumber the 4 million NRA members? Do we really think that allowing our public schools to fail miserably will do anything other than create higher crime and poverty rates in the future? And do we think that ignoring the staggering ramifications of climate change will somehow make it magically disappear?

It is exhausting to look around and see how many fronts require our efforts and our energy. It is easier to look the other way, to say we elected people to do the work for us, but that isn't the truth. No one person, or group, or class of people, rich or poor, can carry the burden of an entire society. And whether it is our own respective lives that we are mulling over or the job our President is doing, our conclusions must include what it is we ourselves are gonna do to make something better.

If our spirits are judged by how well we've loved, then I think the measure of our time here is judged by what we made better for our having passed this way.

So whatever it is we want for our country, let's be the wind at our President's back to move us all forward to achieve it. And whatever it is we want for our individual lives, let's make it a desire worthy of our efforts. And then, as my Facebook buddy put it, "It's gonna be a heckuva second half!"

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

As a short postscript, I wanted to thank you all for the overwhelming messages and emails after my previous blog about my mother. I was so blown away by it. Many heartfelt thanks.

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