Things Worthy of Our Love

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

In a recent Atlantic piece, long-time Republican speechwriter Peter Wehner notes that since losing the election, Donald Trump “has become even more destabilizing and dangerous”. Trump’s recent actions have been so far beyond the pale that it seems impossible to adequately express how unhinged they are. A discussion of martial law taking place in the Oval Office is the stuff of nightmares.

However, the conclusion of this horror film is near, and Wehner discusses where we as a nation might go after.

Beyond that, and more fundamental than that, we have to remind ourselves that we are not powerless to shape the future; that much of what has been broken can be repaired; that though we are many, we can be one; and that fatalism and cynicism are unwarranted and corrosive.

There’s a lovely line in William Wordsworth’s poem “The Prelude”: “What we have loved, Others will love, and we will teach them how.”

There are still things worthy of our love. Honor, decency, courage, beauty, and truth. Tenderness, human empathy, and a sense of duty. A good society. And a commitment to human dignity. We need to teach others—in our individual relationships, in our classrooms and communities, in our book clubs and Bible studies, and in innumerable other settings—why those things are worthy of their attention, their loyalty, their love. One person doing it won’t make much of a difference; a lot of people doing it will create a culture.

It’s my hope that in 2021 and beyond, we can indeed all be better. By our example, we will teach others to be better as well.

Meanwhile, in another piece for the same publication, Tom Nichols opines that engaging with Trump’s die-hard supporters simply isn’t necessary. He states that we can, and should, “tune out the noise” and the antics. I’m very much in favor of that. I’d like to hear a lot less about the lunatic fringe, and a lot more about reality, and things that matter to those of us who dwell therein.

When January 20th finally arrives, we can all stop paying attention to Trump’s latest fact-free statement. It’s been a long time coming. Once we get there, let us resolve to spend our time on more productive things.


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