Oh, fine New Hampshire! Awasiwi Odinak! You gave us the best president that never was. He came from a lineage of politicians, from privilege and power – and yet – with education, and consideration and, yes, some humility. He came with a confidence in the divine nature of human goodness and in the miracle of pluralism.
He came as a surprise, as an underdog. He came as a good man. Let us rejoice in the power of fiction! Let us rejoice, because he did, in the end, raise the level of debate in our country for many of us. Let us rejoice in a dream of an America that shares and that is kind. For in bitterness, anger and fear there is power. But in love and hope and persistence, there is staying power. Stay safe, stay well and pray with me to Saint Bartlet – patron of oratory, of esoterica and of the experiment that is America.
Saint Bartlet, be with us when we are tired. Be with us when we are exhausted by the vindictiveness of our opponents. Be with us when we are wearied by the ignorance of the apathetic, the unkind and those who substitute niceness for action. Saint Bartlet may we wake up energized. And may we go to sleep that way.
Be with us as we pick apart what is nicety and intention and balance a host of responsibilities as allies and as individuals. Let us work to be good and to do good. Let us be forgiving, but never at the cost of our assertion that all are created equal.
Make us willing to be uncomfortable. Give us the strength to acknowledge our discomfort, and to keep trying to be the best of what a given moment calls for.
May we value smart people who disagree with us. May we unite around common causes and work with faith for good causes not our own. May we surround ourselves with people who love us and will fight for us and with us. May we banish narcissists and sycophants to their echo chambers.
Remind us to love words, to know their power and to recognize that a language where words mean nothing is destruction and violence in itself. Be with us as we try to find the words – the music – to move mountains and minds. Grant us eloquence, oh saint, grant us inspiration. And – sometimes – grant us writers to give us the words we grasp after, to form the phrase for our feelings.
Grant that our leaders may be remembered as they deserve.
Saint Bartlet, lay bare the empty rhetoric of the proudly ignorant. Strip away the insincere smiles of those who choose a side because it is better to be wrong than to admit that you once were. And may those who insist they know best be struck with perfect understanding and overwhelming empathy.
Grant us always the opportunity to open our mouths and say what we think.
May we have the courage to run into the fire. May your mercy guide us out again.
Dearest saint, we will show up. Grant us your blessing when we do.