As former President Obama left the White House, he left a few quiet words of hope in the ear of a nearby acquaintence: “This is not a period; this is a comma.” To those of us on either side of the aisle of divided opinion, I take that as a cautionary suggestion.

The term of a President of the United States is a mere four years, which in the scheme of things is not a period, it is a comma. At the end of four years, the American people have the brilliant choice of whether to continue reading the book or return it to the library.

I occasionally open a new book with some scepticism, due perhaps to my somewhat peripatetic childhood as a military child, moving on to a new home and new experiences at the end of each term of service to our government. I approached each change in my life with trepidation, knowing that though it could not be a period, it was a shaky comma.

I did not vote for our new President, nor do I hold him as a person, in high regard or with the respect the office should have. However I am reminded of a remark I supposedly made while washing dishes as a young girl: “No, I don’t like it, but I have to do it, so I may as well get on with it.”

Apparently those clarion words were spoken some 82 years ago, and I have washed a lot of dishes since then. There have been periods and commas, and a few exclamation points in the intervening years, but the book and the story keeps turning a page every four years. In the grand panoply of our history this is another comma, and we keep reading.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

11 thoughts on “THIS IS NOT A PERIOD”

  1. I meant ” I, for one, am ready to give him a chance…” I’d like to see Governor Moonbeam finally fade into the paper and be replaced by a business person here in California, where the regulations and taxes are suffocating.


  2. About 3 a.m., I sat straight up in bed and thought, “But what about the colons and semi-colons?”

    And there’s this stray thought. On the day President Kennedy was assassinated, it felt like a full stop. Period. End of story. But of course it wasn’t. The system, larger than any one person, continued to function. There are times when that’s more important than any individual filling any particular position. I’m no more fond of crudeness or self-absorption than the next person, but imperfect vessels, and all that.

    To go back to Leonard Cohen: there certainly are a few cracks in President Trump’s makeup, but it’s entirely possible that some light will shine through in the next years.


    1. I remember dissolving into tears when FDR died. In high school, I was sitting with friends in a soda fountain, and we all wondered what on earth the new President Truman would do. As a vice president, we had heard virtually nothing about him, and we soon found out he was not liked by either party. But as you say, the cracks soon opened a little, and life went on. We’re always afraid of the unknown and unknowable, and Mr. T is all that.


  3. The washing up strikes a chord, Kayti. We have a machine that can do the washing up but it is hardly ever used. I find it a most soothing past-time to swirl my hands in warm water.
    In the end, all that matters is for a world to continue. We hope for the best…but I am anxious. Democracy has thrown some strange leaders before in other parts of the world.


  4. I loved this post, Kayti. Punctuation is the perfect metaphor for the transition of power in our beloved country. I take comfort in Obama’s comment and in your post. I needed reassurance today. Thank you.


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