Tuesday is Election Day. We’ll soon know the voters’ verdict and then we’ll figure out what it means.
While we’re waiting for the returns to come in, I’d like to ask the reader’s kind indulgence.
My oldest daughter, Jaclyn, is getting married Saturday. She’s a wonderful young woman, confident and smart. Her fiance, Kyle, is a focused, hardworking gentleman. They’re great together.
They’re wildly optimistic about their futures, which is no surprise. Marriage is our most optimistic institution — it says the fundamental values of love and family transcend petty disagreements. Somehow, the marriage union is more powerful than its component parts.
It’s a cheap cliche to argue America’s problems could be solved if we just cared for each other like a family. Our disputes are real and not easily solved.
Still — don’t we all still love the American idea? Doesn’t self-government, however imperfect, transcend the problems that divide us?
We’ve spent the last year bitterly arguing over issues large and small. We’ve asked where a senator really lives and examined how his opponent earned his millions. We’ve debated education, health care, taxes, same-sex marriage, the death penalty, even an outbreak of a deadly disease.
But I’d bet the children of Jaclyn’s grandchildren will read about our squabbles and smile. Why were they so mad about Obamacare? What was the Keystone XL pipeline? Why was immigration such a big deal?
Take a look, the kids will say. Great-great-grandpa Dave wrote stories about this! That was back in the olden days — when they printed the news on paper and drove it to your house.
Great-grandma Jaclyn saved some clips.
They’ll have their own disputes, of course. Sickness and violence and anger are relentless enemies, part of every generation.
But the American experiment will survive. It’s quite strong enough to outlast our own vanities.
I hope I don’t think about politics Saturday. I’ve got a plan: steady knees, dry eyes and a confident stroll with my daughter holding my arm.
Then I’m going to dance with the bride, hug her sister until she complains and kiss my wife. I’ll eat too much and sing too loudly.
At evening’s end I’ll have a glass of wine. I want to figure out the mystery of time, which slides so quickly and quietly through our hands.
After a few days at home and a little rest, I’ll be back here talking with you.
Here. Where we print the news on paper and drive it to your house.