I woke this morning to political pundits feverish with excitement. Feverishly excited by – in some cases exercised by – the unanticipated victory of Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the special election for Senator from the state of Alabama. Almost without exception, though, the pundits are fixating on the race. On how and why and where exactly Moore lost, and on how and why and where exactly Jones won.
But what I found enthralling in the last 24 hours had nothing to do with the race per se. Rather it had to do with the consequences thereof. I refer particularly to the content of what Jones said in Birmingham last night, in a speech to his supporters immediately after he was declared winner.
Jones began in the usual way – by profusely thanking his family and friends, his campaign team and political supporters. Then he continued in the usual way. He spoke verities and niceties and even homilies that under other circumstances would be unremarkable. But, given the temper and tone and tirades typical of what emanates now from the White House, what Jones said sounded fresh and refreshing, assuring and reassuring, calming and comforting – a reminder of why all my life, until recently, I was proud to say, “I am an American.”
Jones: “This entire race has been about dignity and respect.”
Jones: “This campaign has been about the rule of law.”
Jones: “This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency.”
Jones: “This campaign was about finding common ground and reaching across.”
Jones: “As Dr. King liked to quote, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice….”
What a relief! What an enormous relief.