Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Hopeful Day Brings Happy Music

Against a persistent background of partisan strife and paralysis, we have witnessed three acts of conciliation in a 24-hour period, perhaps providing a welcome opportunity for Americans to learn, improve, and benefit.

First, President Obama presented a call for cooperation during his State of the Union address; a number of legislators in the audience again broke party seating lines. Both parties' focus on electionyearing is likely to interfere with many opportunities for collaborative progress, but President Obama pulled some partisan punches and there seems reasonable hope that some Republicans could respond productively were the President to offer some consensus-friendly initiatives. The situation in America's government has deteriorated to a point at which even needed legislation on which nearly all can agree is difficult to enact. We experienced a flicker of optimism as some Republicans and some Democrats commented after the President had described the state of our union as "getting stronger."

Next, again on the House of Representatives' legislative floor at the Capitol, a politically ecumenical program this morning celebrated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery from a horrific, targeted attack by an armed madman -- to a point at which she could deliver her resignation in person -- suggested that members of Congress might be people, too. For a period, it appeared that legislators saw each other not as Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives but instead as fellow Americans.

Those events were scheduled, perhaps even predictable. But then ...

From Harrisburg, this afternoon, arrived the unexpected news that one member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court -- the chief justice, Ronald Castille -- had broken partisan lines to reject this decade's grotesquely contorted legislative reapportionment map.

Let us hope we are detecting the new pattern. Please listen, and enjoy:

Infytune: People Get Ready, Curtis Mayfield and bandmates
Infytune: Peace Train, Cat Stevens (Yusef Islam)
Infytune: Higher Ground, Stevie Wonder (a blind man, alone)
Infytune: What's So Funny ('Bout Peace, Love, And Understanding), Elvis Costello and bandmates

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