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Picture That Links Americans

February 11, 2019

This weekend one of those perfect political moments took place that transcends partisanship or any attempt at polarization.   It is one of those moments that we need more of in our country.

When Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her candidacy for president a heavy snow was falling on the large assembled crowd in Minneapolis.   Amidst the cold temperatures, with people wearing a thicker layer of white on their hats and coats, flew the Red, White, and Blue.

It made for a political moment that stands out at a time when so much is layered with investigations, deadlocks, and chaos.  At the far other end of the spectrum, from all that is wrong, is a place where the heartbeat of a nation continues strong with hope for a brighter tomorrow.   That sounds trite, but in fact, it is the truth.

One of my favorite mental images from our past, that has stuck with me for decades, comes from the night in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln is elected president.  He is in Springfield and edgy about finding out how his fellow citizens have reacted at the polls.  Historians have written how he camped out in front of a cast-iron stove in the telegraph office, his long legs stretched outward, his lanky frame taking over the chair.  Waiting to know his future.

Scenes like that one, be it a mental concoction we create from the written record, or ones from this weekend where a heavy snowfall greeted a presidential announcement adds a sense of renewal, to what at times, seems flagging or in desperate need of help in the nation.

One need not be a supporter of Klobuchar, or even a Democrat to feel a mood that comes from the images yesterday.  Having loved history since the third grade, and continually striving to learn more, it comes as no surprise I love the imagery of our national narrative.   The photos of such moments can convey moods and information far faster than words.  And as I tell others, when we talk about such things, the more I look, the more I see.  And the more I feel.

Educators talk of such pictures in a more clinical sense as either being accurate documentary evidence or as distortions of history.  I certainly take those points to heart.  But it also needs to be noted there is an old-fashioned quality to many of the images that conveys a mood that seems lacking among the citizenry.  We need to find our commonalities again as a nation.

 

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