Monday, November 7, 2016

Blogging Around: Getting a Sense of Perspective Before the Election

For everyone who isn't a True Believer in one of the two major party candidates and needs a good dose of perspective. I know I found them welcome.

First, this is far from the worst set of elections we've had as a nation. I knew of the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson stories which can be hard to believe if one is used to thinking of them only as noble Founding Fathers. The piece below reminds us that this isn't the first time we've sunk low for candidates' behavior. Read the whole thing but here's something to get you started.
If 2016 won’t be remembered for its civility, the elections of 1824 and 1828 were no more ennobling. Mr. Guelzo thinks they’re the only ones that can compete with 2016 for “the sheer depth of the nastiness.”

Neither John Quincy Adams nor Andrew Jackson earned an Electoral College majority in the first round, throwing the election to the House, which broke for the son of the second president. Old Hickory spent the next four years assailing the “corrupt bargain” he said Quincy Adams had struck with the House speaker.

David Reynolds, who teaches the Age of Jackson at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, remarks: “Very improbably, the intellectual and rather snobbish John Quincy Adams was charged with being a pimp, because as minister to Russia he had allegedly offered his nursemaid to the czar as a kept woman in exchange for political favors. Then there was the scandal surrounding Andrew Jackson, who was charged with being a bigamist.” Jackson got his revenge on JQA in 1828, but he blamed the vitriol for the coronary that killed his wife the same year.
Joseph Rago, History Repeats as Farce, Then as 2016
Peggy Noonan wrote a good piece reminding us that life will go on and this is far from the end of the road. First her note of hope for the future. We've got nowhere to go but up.
A memory that stays with me is a college student down South who in September asked me if the young, experiencing national politics for the first time this year, should feel despair. No, I said, you should be inspired. You’re not even out of school yet and you can do better than this. All of you will have to set yourselves to saving us. It got a laugh but I meant it, and the audience knew.
Peggy Noonan, Democracy's Majesty and 2016's Indignity
This was followed by a good overview of why we wound up with these unpopular candidates and what they represent. It seemed impartial to me, since I'm a fan of neither.

I especially liked her ending note though. It has occurred to me forcibly since I've been reading the Bible in chronological order and recently got to a lot of prophets from around the same time. The point she makes below is one that God has been trying to make for thousands of years.
A closing thought: God is in charge of history. He asks us to work, to try, to pour ourselves out to make things better. But he is an actor in history also. He chastises and rescues, he intervenes in ways seen and unseen. Or chooses not to.

Twenty sixteen looks to me like a chastisement. He’s trying to get our attention. We have candidates we can’t be proud of. We must choose among the embarrassments. What might we be doing as a nation and a people that would have earned this moment?
Peggy Noonan, Democracy's Majesty and 2016's Indignity
Be sure to read the whole thing. The Wall Street Journal usually charges for online content but I'm glad both the above pieces are available free. They provide good perspective as we try to gain footing in the midst of chaos.

No comments:

Post a Comment