I found myself at Saint Anselm College while Donald Trump spoke on Monday. Among all the supporters and protestors, I eavesdropped on two men talking. One guy held a Trump sign. The other wore a Next Gen Climate Change button. Between us, I anticipated the conversation would erupt some kind of throw-down, just like I see on the news.
But for an hour, they never raised their voices. They talked issues—all of them: global warming, income inequality, international trade, everything. They listened. They responded kindly. I heard both of them say, “Tell me more about that so I can understand.”
That Granite Staters are highly civically engaged while also being generous, decent and understanding of other views is our state’s most precious natural resource. It is the seed corn of democracy, handed down, carefully preserved from past political seasons. As in farming, the seeds of democracy must be planted anew in each generation.
In your position and in mine we each hold a handful of that seed corn. Will we eat the seed corn now, exploiting it to satisfy our immediate hunger? Or will we receive this seed corn as a gift, as New Hampshire’s heritage, and sow it into our land, trust those who cultivated it before us, watch it grow abundantly and hand on the seed democracy’s next season?
Let us pray.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.