Gracious living

Several of my friends attended the Inauguration.  All of them have told me how nice everyone was, how generally happy the mood was, and how somehow the immense crowds didn’t degenerate into pushing and nastiness – at least from the stories I have heard.

Mom brought something else to my attention today: there were approximately 2 million people on the Mall and not one arrest.

Let’s put that in perspective.  The estimated population for the entire District of Columbia in 2006 was under 600,000.  More than three times that number packed into one area of the District, with only minor injuries and a few lost children who were quickly returned to their parents.

This is a powerful example of civility and I intend to follow it.  It has been far too easy over the last few years to divide people into “us” and “them” along any number of arbitrary lines.  The more it happened, the more frayed my nerves got, and the more I made my own arbitrary and meaningless judgments based on irrelevant data points in a clueless and reactionary haze of non-thinking:

“Bumper sticker says X — no wonder that person is driving like an idiot.”

I am here now to stand up and say I am done.  This is me, striving for a measure of grace and goodwill to all.  In my fear for my country and my society I allowed myself to start to mirror that thing I feared.  While I know I will not manage this new mode of thinking and acting perfectly, I have made a start.