It's only been a few days -- and since we imagine the task of making America great again is more of a marathon than a sprint, it feels a little early to pass judgement on how the project is going.
So let's not speak of the nation in general. Let's talk about you, specifically.
You, the person reading these words.
How are you feeling about what you've seen since Election Day? How are you feeling about what you've heard?
How did you feel about the President's inaugural address? Did you feel that, when the President said "today...we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people," he was talking to you? Did you feel that, when the President said "the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now," he was talking about you?
The President said "Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands...but for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty...rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape...and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and right now."
When he said those words, did you nod in understanding or shake your head in disbelief? What did your neighbors do? Your friends? And, probably quite literally, everyone you know? What did they do? What did they all do?
And can you understand why someone would have done the opposite?
Can you really?
We've had occasion, over the past few months, to refer repeatedly to Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose -- particularly as it pertains to the idea of a lost American flock, cast out beyond walls and left to seethe. We've had occasion to refer to Saint Francis, the Catholic saint who gives his name to the Franciscan order of monks, who went to live among the members of this lost flock, to try to bring them back into the community of the whole.
What we've not yet mentioned is the result of Francis' outreach to the outcasts: he failed.
And who we've not yet introduced you to is the man who reached out -- and succeeded. The man who came with a message that the outcasts, after years of being targets of indifference at best and open derision at worst, were more than ready to hear.
It's not a story with a happy ending.
But we'll tell it. That's coming up in March. Stay tuned.