Of Disaster and the ‘Other Side' (Editorial)

In a few days, the ever-lengthening electioneering season will be over, and you can “refriend” those Facebook “friends” previously “unfriended.” (The sarcasm implied by quote marks is intended.)

If, however, you’re like us, you resisted that first impulse to block your FB friend’s obnoxious political musings, shared cartoons and Internet memes. That’s because you decided that knowing what the other side was thinking was more important than low blood pressure.

It’s that “other side” of which we write now. When calamity befalls our brother and sister citizens, as it did last week in the form of Sandy, Americans tend to resist partisan impulses and pull together.

Two quotes come to mind, from the politically sublime to the pop culture slightly silly, but both move a soul still sentimental despite years spent trying to wrestle that sucker into submission.

From Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

From Jeff Bridges, the “starman” in the 1984 movie “Starman,” speaking of humanity on strange planet Earth:

“Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.”

We would like to believe that both observations are true. And if they’re not, at least not yet, we would like to believe we share the desire to make them come true.