Well, whatever your political persuasion, the election is over and there is general relief in that. It was a long, drawn out affair and, irrespective of political affiliation or lack thereof, one has to wonder at the amount of time and especially the amount of money devoted to it.
Over the course of the last year and a half we have been exposed or treated to both the best of democracy and the worst of demagoguery. We have witnessed sharp division around core economic and social values - sometimes clearly expressed and sometimes coded.
We have been subjected to debate after debate with occasional moments of light and eloquence and often - too often - rather pedantic and obtuse jockeying and deflection.
Left, right or middle we have heard our positions on significant issues and challenges, both domestic and international, validated, obfuscated or distorted. We have been caught up in and caught up by partisanship on both sides that seemed oblivious of common ground, common sense and common good.
In the end, however arcane our system and profane the voices it allows to be heard, we end up reminded of the glory of our democratic principles and the way we choose to express and embody them. Given the multiplicity of life experiences and circumstances that are essential to the American fabric and the American story, we manage to accommodate them all - or at least most of them - with some degree of thoughtful regard. Indeed, today, there is a blog and a social network for every point of view.
I will not miss the inundation of commercials or the volume of email blasts that have cluttered the TV and my inbox and tried my patience. I will continue to have a healthy skepticism of how access to power and money - on all sides - may influence the nature and content of how we engage the issues of the day. Like most of you, I will continue to hope that the legislative and executive capacity to reach across ideologies and aisles toward a shared future that is better for all of us, will eventually come about.
In the midst of this our young people are watching and learning. I hope the fundamental lesson derived remains an informed and impassioned commitment to the power and privilege of the vote and to the power and privilege in living fully within this grand experiment in American democracy.