Good countries sometimes make bad mistakes, the great ones correct them quickly.
Over the course of this exhausting, and at times, heartbreaking year, many Americans have been looking forward, not back, searching for the opportunity to do the next good thing they can for our country.
For my part, I have traveled to twenty different states to support those men and women who have answered the sacred call of public service by running for office themselves. We need more good people to answer that call, and more good people to support them.
On Tuesday night I stood with my neighbors in Maryland listening to the words of our newly elected Mayor of Annapolis, Gavin Buckley. The citizens who had gathered after a long rainy day at the polls represented the diversity that is our strength as Americans. They were black, white, and Latino. Young and old. People of every Faith.
When Mayor-elect Buckley spoke, his thick Australian accent was strong and clear. The fact that he was an immigrant to our country was something his opponents attacked. He never tried to hide it. In fact, he did radio ads in his own voice even as postcard mailers tried to mock him as ”Crocodile Dundee,” a foreigner, someone not like us.
His message was the message so many Americans are longing to hear. That we are good people, we all want the same thing for our children and for this country we love. We must face our problems together with honesty, compassion and humility. We must repair the bonds between us. And we must heal the Earth upon which all of our grandchildren’s lives depend. We are not victims. We are Americans. “We make our own events, not time or chance.”
Gavin Buckley never mentioned Donald Trump. He didn’t have to. He talked about us. He talked about what we can achieve together. And he won.
You see, there is a goodness within us as Americans, and it cannot be eclipsed for long.
All over the country, new leaders are rising up to call that goodness forward.
Our challenges are new. The Constitutional crisis we face is unprecedented, but the timeless values that unite us are stronger than anything that divides us. Citizenship. Solidarity. Duty to one another and to the next generation. Love of family and country. Faith in our ideals. Truth about ourselves.
Next year, 36 governors' offices and state legislatures are up for election all across our country.
Take heart, America. We are a nation of second chances. In our national story, there is always a “yet.”
Tuesday’s election night results in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington State, New Hampshire and Maryland are the strongest evidence yet that America is returning to its true self from darker days.
And darkness makes a great canvas.
* Martin O’Malley is a former Governor of Maryland and a presidential candidate.