The Best in The Worst

Published: November 6, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Listening, last night, to Senator John McCain and President-Elect Barack Obama, the first words from Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities flashed before me.

“…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

Light, Darkness, Wisdom, Foolishness, Belief, Incredulity, Hope, Despair.

In eight words, Dickens not only summed up hard times past, but the hard times he was living through.

Considering the last 18 months, it doesn’t take a scholar to see comparisons on many levels.

McCain:  “These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.”

Obama:  “There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know the government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.”

McCain:  “I urge all Americans [to offer] our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together…”

Obama: “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep.”

McCain:  “…to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences…”

Obama:  “We may not get there in one year or even in one term…”

McCain:  “…restore our prosperity, defend our security… and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”

Obama:  “America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you: We as a people will get there.”

Last night, we took a significant first step.  We have begun to move from darkness to light, from foolishness to wisdom, from despair to hope, to change we can believe in.

“That’s the true genius of America,” Obama said, “that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.”

Yes, we can!


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