To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ...
You can read more about this in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Or you can listen to a slight variation of the passage set to music by the late folk music great Pete Seeger in 1959, and later by The Byrds (a No. 1 song on Billboard charts in 1965), and then by Judy Collins and others. But one of my favorite recorded performances of “Turn, Turn, Turn” was captured on Seeger’s 1960s-era folk music show “Rainbow Quest,” when Seeger and Collins sang it together 50 years ago.
I reference these beautiful lyrics and the soothing melody Seeger crafted because I prefer to listen to it and absorb the wisdom of the message today rather than the post-presidential election rancor that pollutes our airwaves and prevents a more worthy, necessary discourse.
There was a season for the joy, the anger, the exhilaration and the disappointment we as a people have voiced since Donald J. Trump was elected our 45th president on Nov. 8. But in a matter of days Trump will be sworn in. That is a new season, a chance to move on as a nation less divided.
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Whether you love him or loathe him, Trump will be our president. He will not be our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our guiding Bill of Rights or any of the other amendments. He will not be our Congress or our Supreme Court. He will be one man with an opportunity that we have a duty to help him shape.
Applauding or protesting the actions of a president is what citizens do, and that should continue. Actress Meryl Streep used her platform at the Golden Globes ceremony Sunday when she criticized Trump. That same weekend Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, used a more bitter, partisan political platform to call Trump a “pathological liar” (The “liar” card was played against President Barack Obama at a State of the Union address he gave, too.) I hope we as Americans can discern the difference between protests and emotional dead-end political rants. We must.
It is up to us to be less like these politicians and more like one of Sanders’ supporters, who wrote a guest editorial for The Seattle Times on Jan. 6. Kris Craig, a Seattle software engineer who served as both precinct captain and local delegate for Sanders during the primaries (and who voted for him as a write-in during the general election), opined this:
“ ... Now, perhaps more than ever before in our nation’s history, Americans of all political persuasions are isolating themselves from anyone who does not share their views. They are blaming each other for the perceived misbehaviors of the candidates they support. This accomplishes nothing and serves only to divide us.
“Both Republicans and Democrats have fallen into the habit of demonizing one another, as it can be a very effective way to rally their supporters. Meanwhile, our friends in the national media seem to be doing everything they can to encourage this mindset for the sake of ratings. But at the end of the day, the real blame lies with us, the American people, for so eagerly lapping it up.”
Make no mistake, Craig is not giving Trump a pass. He is giving us a challenge I want to echo: “It’s time to stop hating one another and start healing these divisions. We’re all on the same team, after all.”
Yes, we are. Before us is an opportunity to turn away from the pessimism lingering after a divisive election and reconnect as optimistic American citizens who have a role in this next administration — to embrace this new season as we have throughout our history. To be vigilant and exercise our constitutional rights to keep us on course.
I swear, it’s not too late.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (King James Bible version)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.