Marvin Repinski: The presidential oath: That’s for all of us
Published 6:30 am Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Let us affirm that we are all in the process of giving our lives to the oath of Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris. Difficult, indeed, but that can be our national challenge — I appeal to our “better angels” (we do have them!) and cite a Bible verse, Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who built it labor in vain.”
If we couple that claim with the words of Abraham Lincoln, we may be headed in a proper direction.
WHEN A NATION WAS IN CRISIS: On Oct. 24, 1863, Abraham Lincoln said in a speech to the Presbyterians of Baltimore:
“I have often wished that I was a more devoted man than I am. Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance in God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.”
My reference in the book, “America’s God and Country,” page 385, this scene was as General Robert E. Lee’s army was coming toward Washington. In the midst, President Lincoln remained strangely confident.
The validation of the victories or betterment of our nation in the Civil War days — we don’t forget the issues of slavery and the abandonment of hope for persons of color — but the hopes for a new day did emerge.
Democracy is about the participation of persons who, with struggle and negation, utilize their freedom. We are now in the time of respecting one another, living together with multiple backgrounds, and not always having the same goals. But let us be a people of grandeur, of wisdom, of forgiveness, and use our gifts to continue a long tradition of nation building. An anchor in the water can lose its purpose when, for instance, so many weeds grow around it that it gets pulled from its mooring. It may, by a terrific storm, be broken from its attachment.
Think with me of the parts of your life, possibly ripped from your purpose and anchor, and leave you floating, drifting with a sense that all is lost — you may be almost giving up with former goals, work, adventure or relationships. I’m not one to “give up easily,” but I’ve known stormy days! My response is to refashion my goals, placements, and address my own shortcomings.
WHAT IS ENTAILED IN AN OATH? In a person taking an oath, a promise to himself and a whole nation, we might embrace that oath as our commitment. Strange thought?
I propose that we view the constitutional guidelines in this transition of power — leadership as an anchor for each of our hearts. The Dictionary views an anchor as “a device for holding fast or checking motion,” or, “a means of stability.”
Someone reading this may say, “You know, Marv, who my anchor is? My anchor is my sweetheart.” I say, “Keep her sweet -” and you too!”
My writing is for persons of persuasions of various political aspirations; Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and the “nones.”
We will have a future of survival with style when respect may cross party lines, name-calling, and misapplication can be minimized. In fact, efforts while wearing our masks or not, we can recognize this goodness that is possible in each person’s efforts.
I will leave other venues, institutions, and the courts to pick up on the law and order issues. We all, I assume, are invoking the words, behaviors, responsibilities, consequences, motives, legal conversations, justices, lawyers, law enforcement, and crime, trespass, for national survival.
GIVING ROOM FOR EACH OTHER: A book by John Dos Passos of 1941, “The Ground We Stand On,” makes the point, “In times of change and danger when there is quicksand and fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before, can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present.”
My “lifeline” of politics and social impressions goes back — remembrance to early teen years. I helped wave a banner for Gov. Thomas Dewey with a crowd at Northside Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Memory! First political disappointment? My friends and I recovered as Harry Truman took the reigns of office.
We can adjust to change; new friends, new leaders, new ways of seeing the world, new policies, new places to eat out and finally, may God grant this globe a miracle of healing. A virus seems to have few friends. Help!
One of my favorite popular vocalists is Cat Stevens. You’ve heard of him? You have your favorite?? Umm. Cat’s song that I want to sing along with today is, “Morning Has Broken.” We sing in wisdom, of magnanimous spirit — “like the first morning.” Someone just said to me, “Marv, you sound optimistic, but don’t forget, parading things as truth, but out there is a lot of balderdash!”