The Long Drive Home

Well, I didn’t do much good in Pennsylvania. When I arrived last week, the now-disparaged polls had Hillary up by four points. When I left yesterday, Trump had carried the state. Note to Democratic Party: Don’t send Blaines to swing states (I use the plural because my sister and brother-in-law went too). Meanwhile, while I was in Pennsylvania, my own district in northern Maine cast its single electoral vote for Donald Trump.

Food for thought for eleven hours in the car. The voters spoke. The system wasn’t rigged. And Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States. He appealed to millions of people who don’t like where this country is headed, and he gave voice, he says, to “the forgotten men and women” of America. That’s a good thing. We should listen. As the saying goes, we really should get out more.

But over the last few months I have also met people who are not so much forgotten as invisible, who keep getting sent back to the end of the line, which, if campaign rhetoric is to be believed, may soon be forming in Mexico for some of them. And somehow the state of America – our broken borders and seething cities, our crumbling morals and crushing debt – is their fault.

We need to look for common ground, not scapegoats.

“What happens,” Langston Hughes asked 65 years ago, “to a dream deferred?”

After a campaign with so much ugliness, I drove home listening only to music, or to nothing at all, to silence. No news, no analysis, no talking heads. Near the end of the long drive, the radio played 12 German Dances by Franz Schubert. I’d never heard them before. Truth be known, I’m tone deaf. But they were beautiful.

And where there is that kind of beauty, there is surely hope.

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.