Finley: A new baby brings new hope

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

There’s something about a baby that makes a body feel as if everything’s going to be OK.

I got a look at my newest granddaughter the other day. Kamryn McKenzy Finley entered peacefully into a world that is anything but. The birth of every new American offers the hope of a fresh chance for the country, and so hers has me lifting my head to see beyond today’s anger.

My own beginnings came at the middle of the 20th century to parents with little except the faith that in America, their children could be anything they wanted, even if they started life in a three-room foothills shack.

Growing up in the ’60s, I experienced a nation riven by irreconcilable differences and fractured along generational and racial fault lines.

When the fighting was over, it was my generation that was supposed to make America a more harmonious nation, bringing it into an enlightened era of peace and love.

Instead, we moved forward from our youth clinging to the same resentments and tormented by the same demons.

And so here we stand, watching the clock tick down on our final quarter, with the game slipping away.

Americans are back in the streets, shouting instead of talking. We are again broken into pieces that don’t look like they’ll ever fit back together.

In this month of Kamryn’s birth, we’ve decided it’s OK to hate and hurt each other because our preferred presidential choice lost the election, or because he won.

Next week there will be empty seats at Thanksgiving tables across the country because the intensity of our resentment and rage is burning up the bonds of family and friendship.

This is crazy. And it’s not who we are.

We are decent people. It sometimes takes us a while to get to the right place, but eventually we do. That’s our history and our hope.

In our hearts, we all want the same thing: to watch our babies grow up happy and honorable, prosperous in every sense of the word, and living in a peaceful world.

My generation didn’t get us there, clearly. But I look at today’s kids, the millennials who are living and loving across the traditional divides, and I think perhaps they have a chance.

They seem less rigid in their politics, slower to judge and open to new paths. In the recent presidential election, 13 percent of them rejected both the Democrat and Republican candidates and instead made a third party choice.

They have been schooled since the cradle in diversity, respecting individual differences and embracing a global view of humanity.

And they are learning from the economy the boomers busted that they have to rely on their own initiative and ingenuity to succeed. That’s the American Spirit defined.

Coming behind them, maybe Kamryn’s still-unnamed generation will be the one that finally stands as one people, united.

If I thought that wasn’t true, I would be mourning Kamryn’s birth, instead of celebrating.

But when you’re holding a still-unmarked newborn, it’s hard not to believe that anything is possible.

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Twitter: @NolanFinleyDN