The Two Faces of Our Country

January is named for Janus, the Roman god who had two faces, one looking back toward the past; the other ahead toward the future. Columnists today are asking: Should we focus on the future, and forget the past? Or should we be more like Janus, who after all was the god of daybreak, of both beginnings and endings? Can we seek the truth about what happened while at the same time dealing with the wreckage?

Obama, I see, has told ABC he believes “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” I don’t agree.

At some point during these last eight years someone gave us a little keychain device that counted down the remaining days of the Bush presidency. There were hundreds and hundreds of days left. But it trudged along, taking us below 400, then 300 – and then one day it stopped. It was scary symbolism.

Those uncounted days are almost over, but to me they still seem trapped inside that little clock. We need to illuminate them.

On January 20, I’ll throw that keychain out. Finally, we’ll have our country back. But I want to know it still is our country. We need to know what happened in the past, so we can be sure it does not become our future.

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