It seems a good practice to track themes when they repeatedly arise. For me, this year, it is the idea of the statesmen. Like you, I long for the behavior and the attributes that I associate with the ideal. No election in my adult life has made that longing and the absence more pronounced.
Politician, statesman refer to one skilled in politics. These terms differ particularly in their connotations; politician is more often derogatory, and statesman laudatory. Politician suggests the schemes and devices of a person who engages in (especially small) politics for party ends or for one’s own advantage: a dishonest politician. Statesman suggests the eminent ability, foresight, and unselfish patriotic devotion of a person dealing with (especially important or great) affairs of state: a distinguished statesman.
Today I got as close as I have been to a statesman. I traveled to the Lucas County Library in Toledo, Ohio, weathered an unseasonable cold and our best secret service to hear Vice President Joe Biden address an enthusiastic, if overly played to, Ohioan crowd. It was awesome.
I know that I risk appearing naive and certainly unoriginal, but I like this man.
I arrived early at the Goodwin Memorial Baptist Church to experience the full measure of the Praise time music and call to worship. To say it was uplifting is do to it a disservice. It is a coming together in song and spirit that carries through and touches everyone blessed to be there.
The Deacons and Deaconesses are dressed in black suits, the latter in fabulous hats. I watched as the father of a young women receiving her baptism discreetly wiped a tear as he returned to his seat. I listened as Rev. Dr. James Jackson first asks us to contemplate if God was fair. Then, within a powerful message of redemption he humanized our brokenness.
Note – Just when I managed to get the audio on track, I totally missed the effect of the back lighting and camera angle. Please bear with it as Dr. Jackson’s message is well worth it.
And because, not once, but twice today, Langston Hughes was recited to me in two unrelated interactions, I leave you with this,
DEMOCRACY, by Langston Hughes
Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right
As the other fellow has
On my two feet
And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
Today was my midpoint. It is a lovely political reality that a cross country road trip can focus on deeply conservative states in one direction and a neatly aligned set of swing states in the other. Today I spent my transition day in Washington DC.
This is me, in full uniform with my GoPro at the ready, no makeup and comfy cow pants. Life is good.
Lots has changed in the last 4 years, but without question my favorite is the addition of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The building (on my left) is spectacular, but the sight of the families in line to enter, most with 3 or more generations together to share the experience was indescribable.
Just outside of Washington DC, I happened upon a group of motorcyclists en route to Philadelphia. These guys were having a blast and I just could not resist,
Kurt – Please forgive me, you are so tall and I messed up the framing.