A reader chided me the other week for writing too often about politics. He prefers to read about family events, holidays and the like. His perspective is shared by others, and I know that I have lost readers who are either bored with hearing about the coming election or whose political views differ from mine.
I appreciate the point. Last week, while celebrating Rosh HaShanah at a Jewish conference retreat at which my husband was speaking, I had no idea what was happening in the outside world. For two days, I, along with the 700 people with whom I shared the holy days, shut ourselves off from newspapers, radio, TV and Internet. It was wonderful. We focused on God, family, and friends enjoying ourselves even more for not knowing what President Obama and Governor Romney were doing.
Nevertheless, although I appreciate Bill’s letter, I’m afraid that I am not able to accommodate his request. I write about what is on my mind, and while holidays are treasured, they are, by definition, narrow spaces removed from time. One of the Rosh HaShana prayers increasingly sends chills down my spine. It speaks of God decreeing what will happen in the coming year during this very period of time. It cites how He is deciding – right now -which nations and which people will face war or peace; famine or plenty; health or illness in the coming year. We pray, repent for our transgressions and commit to doing better, with the plea that God will judge us with mercy rather than strict justice.
That prayer reminds me how tentative our lives are. It is terrifying to look at history and see how unaware people frequently were of events that were going to shatter their lives. One can read of those who took picnic baskets out to watch the “entertainment” as the first major battle of the Civil War took place. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria rated a footnote in many newspapers, yet led to World War I, which was itself a precursor of World War II. The day before Germany invaded Poland in 1939, families sat down to meals and went to work, unaware that their world was soon to be obliterated.
I love America and believe that she has been greatly blessed by Divine Providence. But I do not believe that we are immune to the laws of history that God has decreed. As we recklessly abandon the Godly principles on which this country is founded, I am greatly afraid. As Peter B. commented in response to the plea for less political writing, my husband explains that politics is nothing more and nothing less than the practical application of our most deeply held moral values. When two weeks ago I expressed my deep dismay with President Obama’s presidency as well as my intense disappointment in Governor Romney’s campaign, I did consider that I might offend some in both camps. My reason for writing was twofold. Firstly, I try to write and share what is in my heart, and I am severely troubled at what is happening in this country. Secondly, I thought that there might be some Musings’ readers whose frustration is leading them to think of sitting out this election cycle. I hoped that my words might encourage even one or two people to examine the issues closely and vote Republican, in spite of Mr. Romney and the Republican Party’s inadequacies. (For those who lean Democrat, if they appreciate some of what I write, I assume they are able to tolerate our disagreeing— even passionately—on this topic. I welcome respectful comments whether they support or condemn what I write.)
We are at a dangerous junction and I fear that, if we do not change course, generations after us will wonder how we did not see the precipice over which we were marching. An election won’t automatically repair our situation, but it can be the first, tiny step in halting our perilous plunge toward tragedy.