The first Tuesday of November is nearly, and mercifully, upon us. The 2018 midterm election, with all of the vicious vitriol and derogatory demonization of candidates, will be over. The attack ads, social media meltdowns and 24/7 election coverage will collide like a 10-car pile-up in an action film and come to a jarring stop. Like in a movie, the crash scene will go black and the echo of the 2018 election will be heard in the sound of a single hubcap rolling away from the twisted metal of the wreckage. The country will collectively exhale. Then an exhausted and exasperated nation will wake up and it will be Wednesday morning. As critical as the first Tuesday of November is, America is always driven forward by the first Wednesday of November.
Like I wrote during the flurry of the 2016 election, I have attempted to draw attention to the first Wednesday of November, knowing that the answers to what ails the nation are not to be found in Washington but in our homes and neighborhoods. In towns across the country, and right here in Utah, cities are thriving based on strong free market economies and institutions of civil society fueled by community-driven solutions.
The drive to the first Tuesday, with its focus on power and control, winners and losers, distracts us from more important conversations and more pressing problems. Both sides of the political aisle have breathlessly declared that if their enemies in the other party win the election and assume control, Armageddon will ensue, grandma will be pushed off the cliff and our children will be doomed to destruction.
It is as though the politically obsessed have lost their knowledge of history. The country has survived fierce division and hotly contested elections in the past. And despite the noisy and negative chatter and clamor of flailing political consultants and TV experts, Wednesday morning always comes, and the country moves on.
In fact, American history is filled with “Wednesday mornings.” Following great wars, social strife, scandals at the highest levels of government, 9/11, riots, mass-shootings and contested elections, morning has always come, and it comes because the American people make it come with a belief in better days to come.
Despite the constant drumbeat bemoaning a deeply divided and angry America, I remain convinced that the American people are starving for elevated dialogue, searching for inspiring ideas and striving to find hope in heroes worthy of emulation. As always, a look back in history provides a clear vision of what is needed for a 2018 version of “Wednesday morning.”
As I have previously written, I maintain that when we honor those who have paid the ultimate price while standing for the principles of freedom, we rightly reference the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, that “they gave the last full measure of devotion.” We often miss, however, Lincoln’s powerful and immediate pivot to the future — to us. In the crescendo and cadence of freedom, he called on our better angels, saying it is “for us the living,” that “we be here dedicated,” that “we take increased devotion” and above all, that “we here highly resolve.”
Lincoln recognized that those he honored on a singular “Wednesday morning moment” had already paid the price, done their part and passed their test. He knew the real question was a question for the ages — whether each of us would be highly resolved to do our individual duty on our own “Wednesday mornings.”
Our communities need more highly resolved women and men who care about creating better neighborhoods and a better nation.22 comments on this story
The question of our commitment to “Wednesday morning” is simple. As Lincoln asked, will we take increased devotion to the principles that have fostered the greatest civilization the world has ever known? Will we be so dedicated to the unfinished work and the task before us? Will we be as highly resolved to the cause of freedom as those who have gone before? Our answers to these questions will have profound consequences for our country.
On Tuesday it is incumbent upon each of us to do our part and participate in the democratic process. Regardless of whether our candidates or causes prevail, we can be thankful for that ultimate right to raise our voices and vote our values. Then, after the votes are counted and the victors declared, we should remember that the real strength of the nation lies in its people, its neighborhoods, its homes and its families. That is why in America, Wednesday morning always comes.