Election Night, Civil Dialogue and a Mess of Pigs

Let's be clear. We are talking about an actual pig named SweetPea, and the eight babies my husband helped deliver last night. The boys and I stayed home and watched Election Results for a little bit, had dinner, and read stories. Bean fell asleep. He'd had a big day. Then a text alert from Facebook popped up on my phone saying that my candidate had been declared, and I cried, and Ben and I watched the officials tell the news that this was happening, as close as it was, and Ben and I hugged and cried.

Scott missed the whole thing because he had his arm, past the elbow, up inside a place I'm sure he never imaged it would be. I do not believe we need to get any more graphic than that. Next time we deliver piglets, I will get to experience the unspeakable horror joy of helping to bring life into the world in this same way. I just have months and months to build up to it and prepare myself, if that is possible.

What I cannot wait to do is see those little pigs up close and personal. We should be able to move Sweet Pea this weekend and have all the pigs with us. There have been issues with moving her, and when we were finally able to attempt it, she was too big and uncomfortable to want to walk her more than 1000 pounds to the carrier truck. Now, with the babies already there, it should be no problem.

Scott says that once they cleaned the babies up, and they had a little milk, they started running around with all sorts of energy. They sound so stinkin' cute. As soon as I possibly can, I will share pictures of the adorable ones.

As we wrapped up our night, let me say that I saw a level of graciousness that I have not seen much of during the entire election. The commentators were subdued and thoughtful. I think my favorite was Brian Williams. Just before the speech by Governor Mitt Romney, where he conceded the election, some people were already heated about it taking so long. That was what was coming across Twitter and Facebook. Someone on the panel even mentioned how long it had taken Mitt Romney to call The President.

Brian Williams mentioned that this was a lifetime of work building up to this night, on Romney's part. He mentioned that he is 65 years old. This was a culmination of many many dreams and hopes and coming to the podium tonight... (I do not believe he got to finish his thought, because Mitt Romney was coming to the stage, I am filling in what it seemed Brian Williams was conveying with his sentiment) to concede this election must be a very difficult thing to do. He gave the moment so much humanity.

Then, after all these months of hearing divisive speech about how wrongly President Obama has done things, what a bad four years it has been, Mitt Romney encouraged his audience to get behind the President for the hard work ahead of us all as we work to rebuild our nation.

The President gave a beautiful speech. Several times I cried, although, at the same, I was conscious of how it must be coming across to people who had voted against him, how hard this moment must be for half of our population.

The part I liked the most was the very end:

And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

I know there is a lot of work to be done. I know that both sides now have to find a way to reconcile themselves to the hurt and anger and strife that have wedged their way between us. I cannot imagine a better time for the movie about Lincoln to be coming out - about him grappling with the enormous job of keeping the Union together when it was taking up arms to destroy itself and the other side. I cannot wait to see that movie.

I want to challenge myself to stay more involved this time around. Politics can get so ugly, but I think perhaps many of us who stayed out of it, who kept our civil dialogue to ourselves and our own kitchen tables, have only ourselves to blame that things got so ugly this time. We have to stay involved and engaged and committed. We have to hold our elected officials accountable to carry themselves with the same sort of decorum, generosity and graciousness that was evidenced last night in the very final moments of the campaign.

Text of the President's Speech from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Recent Posts by Liesl Garner

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