Last night a memory imposed on my sleep, elevating a detail I had not entertained in many years. The memory was of attending a Philadelphia Symphony lawn concert in Saratoga, New York, with my family on Aug. 8, 1974.
The live broadcast of Nixon’s resignation speech was piped-in at the break. I was 17 at the time, righteously indignant, fully charged and readied to spit… and then I was dismayed by an incomprehensible sight I had not known previously could manifest, tears flourishing in my dad’s eyes as he and the crowd sang “God bless America.”
I’m beginning to more fully comprehend the sentiment that was betrayed by the tears in my father’s eyes, though he never spoke of it. Moving forward as a country, there will be no victory in this, just a seemingly, increasingly urgent — emergent? — grievous surgery, to be performed on a political battlefield. This will bring to a head trauma of which political affiliation will not assuage, that we will collectively share in our own way. It will require a recovery and reconciliation, a beseeching of God’s blessing and grace, the grace of Christ, Mother Mary, Allah, the Goddess, Buddha, Brahma, Krishna, Shiva, Nature, an array of personally held Higher Power and the best part of humanity, their collective invocations a strength of our nation.
All will be needed and, I pray, welcomed.