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.