Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The American Story

Last night, according to the popular vote, half of America rejoiced and half of America hung its head.  But the story of America is not in the numbers.  It's not in popular votes, electoral votes, congressional seats or any other numbers over which we are either rejoicing or grieving this morning.

America's story will not be told by the polls.  It will not be told by the President.  It will not be told by the legislature.  America's story, as much as it seems to the contrary, will be told in the streets.  And if we do this well, it is America who will tell our leadership's story.  As it should be.

Remember this guy named Herod?  Herod was a jerk.  There were a few Herods.  They were pretty much all jerks.  Herod, and then Herod, and then likely, Herod, had the authority and the obligation to govern their small section of the planet, and that was a reality their people had to live with.  But not, necessarily, live under.  The proof is in the story:

If you want to know anything about Herod's Judea, the details are told through a ragtag band of disciples, warring sects of Sadducees and Pharisees, the Sea of Galilee, and one Man - the Son of Man - whose refused to be subjected to the state and committed Himself to telling His own story.  Which became the disciples story.  Which became the temple's story.  Which became the Pharisees story.  Which became the people's story.  Which became Judea's story.  A story from the streets that defines that period in history.

Far beyond the legacy of Herod.

America owes a great debt to her leaders.  But she has not been defined by any of them, and she will not be defined by this one.  America has never been an enterprise that rises and falls by her leadership; America is a movement.

America is the place that people risk their lives to enter, not because they're looking for better leadership but because they are looking for a better story.  Nobody sneaks in on a cargo ship because Obama is better than Castro or Bush was better than Assad.  They're risking everything to get here because America...has a better story.

That story is the one we're telling on our streets.  It is our ingenuity.  Our adaptability.  Our integrity.  Our commitment and service and promise and hope.  It is our successes and our failures.  It is our opportunity.

And we have an opportunity now to continue to tell our story.  To take to our streets and live our lives and guide our decisions and make America happen.  What happened yesterday is of very little consequence.  This is our story.

There are certainly periods that history tells by leaders.  Hitler in Germany.  Napoleon in France.  Alexander the Great in Macedonia.  Julius Caesar in Rome.  Maybe even Osama bin Laden in al Qaeda.  But I don't think Obama in America is one of those stories.

America's story is told through ragtag bands of citizens, people of every nation, tribe, tongue, and creed.  People brought together by hope, which is more than a tagline in America, and by opportunity, promise, determination, and strength.  America's story is told not in shades of red and blue but in black and purple, the bruising of what it is to just be living it here.  To be on these streets, telling this story.

It doesn't much matter to me who's in the White House, though anyone who knows me knows I certainly have an opinion on last night's results.  But I'm telling my story.  And I hope you're telling your story.  And our neighbors are telling their stories.  And these stories are the stories of our families.  They become the stories of our towns.  The stories of our communities.  The stories of our states.  This is the story of our America.

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