Tomorrow night when the President stands before Congress and a worldwide television audience to summarize his opinions and his plans regarding the state of this great Union of ours, I'll be having dinner with friends.
I doubt we'll tune in.
Interestingly, these are the very same friends who gathered in my home last January, giddy with excitement, to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama. We took the day off work, proudly waved flags, drank champagne at noon, and cried as we watched the President take his oath of office.
Tomorrow, I suspect we will ignore him.
We are still intelligent, well-read, peace-loving, hard-working, outspoken people. We still believe in democracy, free speech, liberty, equality, justice for all...but I bet we'll be drinking wine and talking about our new year's resolutions instead of listening to what the President has to tell us.
I fear we've given up. We are one-quarter of the way through President Obama's term, and we seem to have decided it's too risky to cling to hope. There is not peace, and no health care legislation. There are no jobs, and no mortgage deals. We have no CLOSED sign on Guantanamo, and no gays openly serving in the military. What's more - like icing on our Cake of Woe - the Supreme Court has tossed out 100 years worth of wisdom about corporate campaign funding.
We have begun to think our small voices, which seemed so loud and beautiful last January, are about to be squelched forever. After eight years of George W. Bush, and now one year of political in-fighting and hope strangling, we feel like we are living a Japanese proverb:
Fall down seven times. Stand up eight.
And so we sit in our complacent ditches and tell everyone we're tired of caring.
This, my friends-of-like-mind, is how the other side wins. No matter what the game..
Handball - we give up, we lose. Learning piano - give up, lose. Running, bicycling, dancing, growing vegetables, fighting cancer, educating children, loving your spouse, raising your kids, creating peace/health care/opportunity/fairness - we give up, we lose.
We sang a great hymn in church Sunday, then stood around after the service and talked about how tired we are of sorting through promises and politics and pundits to find our way to effective participation in this democracy. In the middle of the conversation, my friend Carol picked up the hymnal and pointed to the first line of the last verse in the song we'd just sung:
Save us from weak resignation,
To the evils we deplore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage. That's the refrain of the hymn...
...for the facing of this hour.
...for the living of these days.
...lest we miss the kingdom's goal.
At 8 pm tomorrow night (CST) - I'm standing up again. Because there is no moving forward if I stay in the ditch waving my flag of weak resignation.
Peace. It's coming...