Kathleen Parker

Though our political philosophies differ -- and our dreams may be postponed -- we have reason to be boastful today. Two men of extraordinary talents clashed not in the battlefield of strap-on bombs, but in the civilized arena of ideas.

We will survive this shifting of the guard. No one will draw a weapon on the Truman Balcony. No one will be kidnapped or beheaded as we slog through the difficult days ahead of necessary restraint. The rest of the world will continue to judge us at times harshly, while granting begrudging respect mingled with envy.


This too-long election season -- combined with the relentless flow of information and analysis -- has convinced us that This Is The Most Important Election Ever. We are the ones we've been waiting for; the tides tremble in anticipation; the planets applaud; stars wink "gotcha" across the constellations.

We are so special.

Well, yes, we are, though we might try to remember why. It's not because we're going to change the world, because we won't. It's also not because the next four years will be more momentous than others, because they won't be.

We are special because we keep trying to get it right, and because our founding fathers made it possible to do so without violence.

Oh, sure, we have the random riot, the occasional bell tower loony. Our history provides ample justification for shame and self-recrimination. But America's essential good nature, contagious to all who arrive here, prevails even in the darkest times.

In fact, this election, though unique in ways by now familiar, was only another in a series. Others have been more important than this one; other political skirmishes have been far dirtier and the stakes higher than now. As for all that hope and change we've been promised, well, they're not so new either. Rather they are eternal and central to the experiment we call America.

Viewed in perspective, it's a pretty good gig, really. A cupcake.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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