By Tom Ehrich
In a whirlwind of business travel, local business duties, church activities and family life, I have reached a tentative conclusion. Maybe wishful thinking, but maybe a glimmer of hope.
I sense that common sense is asserting itself.
Although our political pretenders find increasingly exotic ways to lambaste and dehumanize each other, people aren’t taking the bait. Oh, many are, I’m sure. But I am hearing increased respect for the fundamentals of American civility and civil liberties.
At the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, for example, the top military person on hand acknowledged that citizens have different views of political and military policies, but that surely we can all agree to thank and respect those who serve in harm’s way. That expression of nuance was important, and so was that call to our better natures.
Although would-be demagogues on the right-wing are trying to whip up fear, hatred and disrespect over every conceivable matter, I sense that more and more people are finding them shrill, out of step, hateful and creepy. I thought former Gov. Jeb Bush’s distancing of his family from the rightward surge was important.
In the church world where I am trying to encourage turnaround strategies, I sense a growing desire just to move on. Or “move forward,” as friends in Kentucky are calling it. Enough whining and bickering, enough standing still to avoid offending, enough paralysis, enough helpless acceptance of inevitable demise. It’s time to act, to have courage, to make tough decisions, to cast eyes outward and onward. People seem to get it.
In its politics and its religion, America has had many awkward eras and some profoundly ugly times. But in the end, common sense asserts itself. A nation founded on diversity, freedom, hard work, farming and factory work doesn’t go softly into the night when greed and its bankers stride tall. Common sense talks back.