05 November 2008

a time for joy, even if it's brief

Last night, I watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago's Grant Park, as did hundreds of millions of people all over the world. I won't deny that I was (almost!) moved to tears. I'm mindful of some words in G. K. Chesterton's hymn of 1906, "O God of Earth and Altar": "From all the easy speeches / That make our hearts rejoice."
That doesn't open the way for cynicism, which works against the faith and hope the hymn proclaims. And to my mind, this is a time for celebration. True celebration is born out of faith and hope—qualities we Americans have allowed to slip away. We've replaced them with less noble qualities mentioned by Chesterton: "The walls of gold entomb us / The swords of scorn divide."

But my words don't match the images of last night, so I'll stop here, lest I become guilty of "lies of pen and voice."

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