It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
After the last four years, I echo Sam’s words from the 2002 film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: “Sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?”
Sam’s words that follow are vital: “In the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.”
I believe that will be true. In the big picture, I trust that God will someday make all things right. Until then, I know that He is not neutral, and that He smiles upon the path of those who do justly, who love mercy, and whose words and actions come from a humble heart. That’s reason for hope and confidence in healing our country and moving our people forward.
I also believe a new day is coming because of the herstory happening. There is, of course, former Sen. Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the United States and simultaneously the first person of color, the first African American, and the first Asian American to hold that office. There’s also New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), on track to become the first Native American to ever serve in a president’s Cabinet. And there’s the Cabinet as a whole, a truly gender-balanced one, with 12 of President-elect Biden’s 24 Cabinet-level nominees being women.
I’m convinced that the more representative our political leadership is of our nation, especially with respect to gender equality, the better the decisions and policies will be.
I’m further encouraged by the Republicans that refused to go along with the lies about election fraud. They have held steadfastly to their oaths before God, despite intense jawboning, threats to their livelihoods, and threats to their lives and families. These include Aaron Van Langevelde of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and then-Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling of the State of Georgia, Governors Brian Kemp of Georgia and Doug Ducey of Arizona, the many GOP senators and representatives who affirmed the election’s legitimacy, and the GOP-appointed Supreme Court justices and judges (at least 38 of them, including those appointed by Mr. Trump) who almost unanimously have dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuits.
These have shown, under duress, genuine courage and patriotism, living out the saying “Country over Party.” Whatever philosophical disagreements I have with them, I am grateful for their stand.
On top of everything else, as a public high school teacher, I have hope because of the American teens and tweens I’ve gotten to know. More so than my generation (Generation X) and the ones before mine, they see strength and beauty in American diversity, resisting politics that scapegoat racial, religious, and sexual minority groups for societal problems. They have a very strong “B.S. meter” that sniffs out insincerity, are more trusting of scientific evidence, and feel more motivated and empowered toward activism than their elders. They “get” it! As they come of voting age, they will move our country toward greater empathy, justice, and common-sense solutions.
Sam says, “A new day will come.” Today is not yet that day in America; the darkness that has been choking our nation won’t be so quickly dispelled. But the new day is coming. We will overcome terrorism again, this time from radical white nationalists. We will get this pandemic under control soon. We will get millions of our unemployed fellow citizens back to work. And we will build a more just and compassionate society. So help us God!
Dear reader, will you take my hand (figuratively, of course, for COVID’s sake) and join me in looking forward, in hope, as we work for our country’s healing?