On election night Jerry and I went to a small party (about 25 people) given in the basement of the island high end eatery. This place, called The Willows, has an expensive good quality restaurant, bed and breakfast rooms, cabins, and a lunchy place in the basement called the Taproot. In the back of the Taproot is a large room with a huge TV and a lot of Goodwill type sofas. The owner of the establishment, Judy, sold wine and made popcorn. Guests brought food — cakes, canapes, pasta. We were all Democrats, passionately supporting Barack Obama.
Before the election I wrote a piece that I decided not to post. It was very partisan and critical of the present administration, and I decided not to post it because one of my few readers and good friend, Bea, who joined Jerry and me in marriage, is an ardent conservative Republican and I didn’t want to offend her (or any other unknown and improbable reader).
Now that the election is over it will not surprise Bea that I am glad of the outcome. So is Jerry, though he took it quite calmly, while my eyes were blurred with tears.
What I would like to say now is: let’s all be together again. Let’s wipe away the anger and the divisions. Let’s grab this chance to do what we can, each of us, to heal the wounds of past. My grandmother taught me the manners of the 19Th century — one must be polite to one’s servants. That doesn’t work any more, since most of us have no servants. The manners of the 21st century should be, be polite to one’s political opponents, in public and in private.
Bea is a smart, educated woman who cares about important matters of public policy. She is my friend. I hope that soon we will talk about the things that need to be done to restore health to this land, instead of simply avoiding discussions of things we don’t agree about.
Nobody in Washington will know it if we succeed in this exercise in civility, but if people all over the country follow our example it will help create a climate in which a new world can be built.