History’s lessons can provide inspiration and context. One of the gifts of longevity is that I now carry a fair amount of history within me. I can remember when democrats and republicans had a modicum of respect for each other and were able to come together on big issues.
I’m old enough to remember disagreements between members of the same political party. They were held together by principles big enough to allow differences about priorities and strategies. One of the speakers at an Inaugural Gala for Jimmy Carter in 1977 was a republican named John Wayne, who said:
I have come here tonight to pay my respects to our 39th President, our new Commander-in-Chief and to wish you Godspeed, Sir, in the uncharted waters ahead. …all of our hopes and dreams go into that great house with you. … And everyone is with you.
I am privileged to be present and accounted for in this capitol of freedom to witness history as it happens … to watch a common man accept uncommon responsibilities he won “fair and square” by stating his case to the American people … not by bloodshed, beheadings, and riots at the palace gates.
…I am considered a member of the opposition … the Loyal Opposition … accent on Loyal. I’d have it no other way. …I add my voice to the millions of others all over the world who wish you well, Mr. President.