The time has come

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

by John Railey

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

All righty friends, here we are on the other side. For generations to come, this presidential election will likely be remembered as a watershed point in our American history, for better or worse.

I had to begin this column with the pledge in which most of us believe to reaffirm my faith in the American people. In talks about the election, my best friend kept telling me, “I have faith in the American people.”

So do I.

This presidential election was like no other we can remember. Family and longtime friends have split.

This election was all about negativity. It was a sorry reflection on our country, but, in the grand scheme of things, it was not a true reflection.

On our best days, we are a good and caring people, far better than what all of us might do on our worst days. We surely have rage, but we surely have redemption as well, from overcoming slavery to the genocide of American Indians, weaving it all and honestly into a flag we have righteously waved worldwide as the banner of freedom.

We here in the editorial department and our columnists and political cartoonists and, most important of all, you, our readers, have said all that can be said about this presidential election.

I look not for the proverbial fat lady to sing, but instead strain for the voice of Lady Liberty from our defining statue. I hope that the election results resonating throughout the land will please Father Abraham in the Lincoln Memorial, our American shrine.

And let’s hope the loser will concede graciously, in the best American tradition.

We all love this grand land of ours. We differ passionately about how to move it forward. But we all bleed red, white and blue, the colors of freedom, and our ancestors have fallen in battles bravely defending that freedom, from the American revolution to the wars overseas to those at home for the civil rights of blacks and gays. We are a good and fine people.

Let’s hope that we, the American people (and our Congress) can come together to support the winner and bring out the best in the winner’s faulted soul, showing the world how well the greatest democracy in the history of the world rolls. I fully realize that is hugely optimistic, even dreamy thinking, but our proud land is built on nothing if not dreams, the biggest and bravest the world has ever known.

Viva la America.

JOHN RAILEY, who knows no matter what happens his beloved Nottoway will keep flowing, grew up in Courtland. He is the editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, which published this column.