Shortly after the election I watched this video of President Obama thanking his team. It inspired me to do something, and so here we are, launching the Reconciliation Project, a way for us to talk things through in a way that doesn't, hopefully, result in our tearing each other to shreds.
I suspect that we reacted to the news of the President's reelection in equal and opposite ways. For me I expected to feel more relief than inspiration. There have been some disappointments in the last four years, and maybe because of that I was nowhere nearly as involved with the campaign as I was in 2008. This year, rather than go door-to-door in Nevada and Pennsylvania, C and I sent enough money for the magnetic bumper sticker, which I stuck on your car door in an attempt at a joke, and that was about it.
But something happened as I watched the returns come in. I started to feel something besides relief. Gratitude. Pride. More than that, though, I felt a desire to participate. Besides voting and buying a bumper sticker, I wanted to feel like I was working to bend that long moral arc toward justice, to cast it in someone else's poetic terms.
But please don't feel like that means I am trying to change your mind, to bring you over to my way of thinking. Instead, I want to start a conversation between us that I am starting to fear will never otherwise take place. And maybe we'll become an internet sensation and inspire other conversations like this one. Or maybe we'll just figure some things out for ourselves, about "the other side" and about each other. I think it's worth it to try.
Which brings me to the volley: what do you see when you watch this video? I see an unscripted, honest snapshot of a principled public servant, humbled but still self-possessed. I expect that you see something markedly different. So I am hoping that you'll "read" this moment for me. And I'm hoping, even more, that this act of interpretation can start something that we'll both find immensely valuable and worthwhile.
You mentioned that you'd written something after the election, and feel free to post that instead of or in addition to this video idea. But maybe watching the video will give you a way to articulate those thoughts and give them the purpose or the "going somewhere" that you felt they lacked on the page as they stood. As you wish. I'm looking forward to whatever you decide.
Welcome to the Reconciliation Project.