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Tomorrow, and the next day

Your Humble Blogger is trying not to get too obsessed with tomorrow’s election. I like elections, but there is the danger that the election becomes the graven idol of democracy, if you know what I mean. So I thought I would just write a little note pointing out that we have, in the United States, accomplished an enormous amount already, and will need to accomplish a lot more after Wednesday, no matter who takes office in January.

I do wish that the tremendous popular movement and organization that Barack Obama and his associates had gathered were focused slightly less on his election and his person, and a little more on potential policy outcomes. If we elect Barack Obama and don’t push for a sane health care and health insurance industry, it won’t happen. If we elect sixty Democratic Senators, and don’t push for a sane foreign policy, a sane relationship between our nation and the rest of the world, particularly the countries who (to quote Sen. McCain), don’t like us very much, it won’t happen. If we elect three hundred Democratic Congressmen, and we don’t push for sane and urgent action on climate change, our atmosphere and our oceans, our energy needs and our energy habits, it won’t happen.

But if we do push for those things, they might. And we have institutions, now, that will allow us to push together. We have symbols, now, to guide us together. We have the rituals, now, that will keep us together. And we have the values, now, expressed for us, to us, and with us, that have brought us together and will bind us together.

So when you go out tomorrow to vote, Gentle Reader, or if you have already voted or even if you aren’t a citizen of our United States and can’t vote, enjoy the election, the marvel that is a nation coming together to put a group of people out of power without having to shoot them. Elections are marvelous miracles, and we should enjoy them. But they aren’t the work of democracy. Wednesday, and Thursday, and December and January and February, and every day is the work of making ourselves a free, self-governing nation, a steward of the world (who isn’t?) and a good and fitting home of the brave.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.