Biblical narrative and our tradition is replete with Morning After’s…the response to and the lasting effect of everything from Gods wrath to the consequences of our actions. And, it is our response, on The Morning After, that makes all the difference….between a “Light Unto The Nations” and a dark void.
In the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt…as an example…we are told, time and time again to remember that we were once slaves ourselves and to apply that ethos to our own ethical behavior towards others. In latter tradition we spill out droplets of wine as we recite the Ten Plagues at the Passover Seder because we don’t gloat when our enemies are destroyed.. And as a First Born I join others to “fast” on the Eve of Passover to internalize the tragedy of the tenth and final plague that took the First Born of Egypt.
In Our Time
In the late 1800’s the “Morning After” became synonymous with the results of an overindulgence in alcohol…in other words a severe hangover. It was the price you paid for what seemed more than right at the time.
Fast forward a hundred years or so and in 1972 the Academy Award (Oscar) for the best original song went to the “The Morning After” the theme song of the disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure…but now the phrase became a beacon of hope and optimism in sharp contrast to the death and despair that surrounded the protagonists on the overturned cruise ship.
Frankly. I would posit that our own US Election “Morning After”, be it a day or week or month after November 3, will be an amalgam of both meanings no matter who wins.
On one hand we will all be suffering from the worst hangover of vitriol; hatred; fake news; partisanship and sheer distaste and dislike for the other side certainly in my lifetime.
Yet on the other hand many of us will be, maybe naively, optimistically, believing as the song said: “There’s got to be a morning after……and we’ll escape the darkness…we won’t be searching anymore”.
Sadly, my biggest fear is that we get stuck in the hangover…hold our heads in pain and lash out in revenge and retribution…digging ourselves deeper into the partisan politics that have been embroiling us since the Tea Party raised its ugly head and to be fair emulated by some Democrats and taken to new heights or lows, as the case may be, by the Trump administration.
Clearly, if the President should win again, he will exact his revenge on his perceived foes and he and his party will feel even more free to continue the metaphorical “Wall” building and Democrats will respond in kind if they take the House or the Senate even without a Biden win.
Therefore, the real opportunity for a hopeful Morning After will be if Joe Biden wins and sets the tone and the direction.
Unless the entire Democratic Party sees victory as an opportunity to reset; as a moment in time when the needs of our citizens and the world transcend any Party; as an occasion to cross the aisle and resume the mission and hard task of actually governing we will fail and embroil ourselves in another 4 years of futility.
Practically speaking we will have to begin with a moratorium on the Trump name including all in his family and circle. If he loses he will spend the rest of his life trolling and sniping…who cares! Relegate them all to the oblivion they belong in which is characterized by ignoring them. We cannot allow ourselves to be like them…still railing on about Hillary Clinton 4 years later.
Lincoln Said It Best
Abraham Lincoln, with victory in his grasp after 4 bloody years delivered one of the most moving and for us maybe prescient Inaugural speeches of all times. He didn’t celebrate victory and he didn’t demonize his foe he said:
“With malice towards none, with charity for all…bind up the nation’s wounds…achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations”
I don’t know about you…the closest I have heard is from Joe Biden but I think it’s fair to say we have yet to hear anything close to that sentiment from others, from either party, running for office or already in office about the country or even about their fellow Party members as some Democrats fight each other and Republicans take names.
Be The Leader
A simple place to start. After you vote reach out to your friends and family members who didn’t vote your Party. There have been so many articles of friendships lost and families torn apart. What a tragedy!
Begin the reconciliation in your own circle and help it spread.
Noah opened the door to the Ark to what must have been a horrific and demoralizing Morning After. He saw the rainbow and was given hope.
And there you have it. We can be hungover or we can start planning now for a Morning After of positive action:
As the song goes:
“We have a chance to find the sunlight
Let’s keep looking for the light
Why don’t we cross the bridge together
Let’s put our hands out in time
And we’ll escape the darkness
We won’t be searching anymore”
Never thought I would quote that song. Certainly not with Lincoln but these are desperate times.
Don’t get hungover. Look for the rainbow. Make hope real.