Growing up in Atlanta was a frustrating experience for even casual sports fans. I learned yesterday that all together, Atlanta’s professional sports teams have played 168 seasons. In all those seasons, only one team—the Braves—have ever won a single national title. Rarely has an Atlanta team even come close. I don’t much follow football, but I am excited at the prospect that an Atlanta team might actually win it all. To win by beating New England would be particularly sweet!
I am frankly surprised at how much I care about who wins the Super Bowl. But I don’t hate the other team or the fans who root for them. And, in a strange way, that seems like a lesson in how democracy is supposed to work.
I did not vote for President Trump, and I am concerned about the impact of his adversarial style on our political discourse, which was bad enough already. Too often, in my view, he appeals to our worst instincts and impulses. My tendency is to retreat. My candidate lost. My life is full. Why should I stay engaged with politics when the political climate discourages me?
But that kind of retreat won’t do. Citizens need to stay engaged. I need to stay engaged. We should all care about what our leaders do in our names. We should care about the impact of policies on the most vulnerable among us.
At the same time, we all need to remember not to hate the opposition—the leaders or those who support them. My goal is to support the policies that seem to me to be best for our country without demonizing those who differ from me.
In this effort, things like the Saint David’s annual meeting give me hope. We came together yesterday to talk about our common life. People showed up. They talked. We shared ideas. And together we will move into our future, facing the challenges that come our way.
Thankfully we are not divided among ourselves about significant issues in the way our country is and in the way that sports inevitably must be (since somebody wins and somebody loses!). Still, our ability to work together, in God’s name, gives me hope that democracy can work as long as citizens stay engaged and remember that we are all in it together. May that be true of our nation under President Trump!