Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the solemn 40-day period during which Christians prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. Lent is a time of reflection during which the faithful practice various acts of abstinence, "giving up" favorite things as small acts of penance and symbols of the hope for redemption.
While Lent is traditionally about private sacrifice, with so much talk of religion in the public square, it seems like a good time to consider embracing some collective acts of atonement for the sorry state of human behavior.
So, for the next 40 days:
Large donors to SuperPACs will contribute at least 1 percent of the value of their political contributions to charitable programs that support impoverished mothers struggling to care for their children.
School reform advocates will spend an hour each week in an actual school learning about the real work of teachers.
Members of Congress who make laws for all the people will include at the hearing table those who are most affected by legislation.
For every minute we spend on the latest news about Lindsay Lohan's latest comeback or Jason Campbellr's non-wedding, we will spend an hour thinking about serious international issues like the human rights tragedy in Honduras or the Greek bailout.
Members of the D.C. Council will only refer to each other as "my esteemed colleague." Bonus points for apologizing for calling each other names that cannot be repeated here.
Religious leaders, in pursuing their important advocacy on behalf of religious liberty, will refrain from using metaphors that compare women's reproductive concerns to ham sandwiches.
News editors will refrain from treating every issue as an opinion poll.
Bloggers will make a serious effort to check their facts.
Presidential candidates will come up with actual, serious proposals to improve the economy while giving up time spent concocting increasingly bizarre attacks on their opponents' personal characteristics.
We will all turn our eyes to the south where young men chase dreams across diamonds. Spring training brings the hope of redemption.