Friday, October 3, 2008

We All Win This Election

Every four years we hear from ideologues on both sides, that the fate of our nation is in the balance. If their side doesn't win, it will be a tragedy of historic proportions. The fate of civilization is in the balance. At the same time, cynics deride the system that produces plastic candidates, and reduces debate to a battle of sound bites and talking points.

Amid the cacophony I think we often miss the most important truth of every American election. We will witness, over the next few months, another peaceful transfer of power. Most people in the world and in history would give anything to have this happen once in their lives. At any given time there are civil wars going on around the world. There are many things wrong in America, and many opinions about what we should do about them, but we should all be able to agree that our system is a thing of beauty, if only because it enables us to routinely change governments,  without a drop of blood.

A century and a half ago, patriots like Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, were unable to accomplish this process peacefully. Every four years, I think they cheer as we prove that their lesson has not been forgotten. I am trying to impress upon my children how blessed we are not to fear the next bloody power struggle just over the horizon. Let's all take a moment to appreciate how fortunate we are to live when and where we do.

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