A Time for Cynicism and a Time for Wonder?

One can be too cynical. Obviously, one can also be too trusting. Sometimes people do the right thing, not because it is right, but as a strategic move on their life chess board. Perhaps, they are doing this right thing for ignoble or self-promotional reasons rather than as a brave and idealistic stand.  Nevertheless, right is right and whenever right is done regardless of the motivation, it is good and worth celebrating.  Needless to say, it is even more praiseworthy when done as an act of courage and nobility.

Several very right things have been done recently. For the moment, I want  to accept them at face value and pray that no matter the back story, they yield blessing.

New York Democrat, Rep. Kathleen Rice, walked out of a Democrat caucus meeting telling reporters, “I don’t have time for meetings that aren’t real.” By articulating that, she was actually announcing that, “The Emperor has no clothes.”  She condemned the way that Congress winks at the sexual harassment of its own members. She ripped off a mask that will be difficult to don again. She deserves our thanks.

President Donald Trump acted upon a campaign promise and acknowledged the truth, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  Politicians and presidents on both sides for decades have been promising to do the same thing knowing that their words were meaningless.  President Trump set a new standard for politicians sticking to their words. He deserves our thanks. 

Seventy-six years ago today, at Pearl Harbor, thousands of American men were called upon to pay the ultimate price for loyalty to a country they pledged to protect. Most of them were young. While most were good and decent human beings, it doesn’t actually matter if some of them were dishonorable scoundrels. It doesn’t matter if President Roosevelt knew what was about to happen or didn’t. What happened was greater than the troops’ individual lives and cemented them in history as American heroes. They deserve our thanks.

Could America actually be moving in a direction that will clean up the political Augean stables and usher in a new period of American greatness? If enough citizens reclaim our willingness to be discerning rather than swallowing whatever stories are temptingly placed in our paths, if we renew our commitment to study and understand the foundations of this country, and if we demand a higher level of integrity from those in office, it is possible that real change can come. For today, I’m opting for idealism over cynicism.

28 thoughts on “A Time for Cynicism and a Time for Wonder?”

  1. I am looking from the 30,000 ft. view wanting to know what does the cynical chatter “REALLY” mean? I suspect ‘something’ is being missed or passed under the radar because we are being distracted by all of the noise. I need a Rabbi. Is the ‘something’ good (or God) because the distractions are so negative? You’ve mentioned several examples of good or God; one being President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    I want to be optimistic, but l can’t help being cynical, and suggest that we are being conditioned to hear falsehoods and lies to the point of being blinded from the truth.

    1. There is no question, Teena, that we are surrounded by falsehoods and manipulation. But there still are many, many wonderful people doing wonderful things and we can’t lose sight of that.

  2. Bob Oppie Issaquah Wa.

    I prefer to to maintan a questioning attitude rather than being cynical. Cynicism is not productive. People will question what you say but will not be cynical.

    1. I think I’m beyond simply questioning, Bob. I tend to assume that I am not being given a fair-minded picture by even the Wall Street Journal, let alone CNN or the NY Times. I find it productive because it forces me to look for other sources. They may be unbalanced in the other direction, but I rarely find a source I put faith in to give me a complete story.

  3. I was a cynic until recently during Thanksgiving and reading the Thanksgiving proclamation. I had a transformation of mind. If we as a nation can overcome such a bitter civil war and reunite, anything is possible. With the droth coming out lately it gives me even more hope. To me the latest regarding Jerusalem is a blessing secured. I love reading your wise musings.

    1. I am still very cynical, Mary and with good reason. But I want to be careful not to have a jaundiced eye and be unable to appreciate the good.

  4. WHEN we teach our sons to Make love to only one woman a thousand times rather than ‘RAPING’ a thousand women…….
    When I married my Ruski Wife it was and is for LIFE. Having more ‘offers’ since I have married, I chose to develop a ‘Forest Gump’ attitude.

  5. I too was absolutely thrilled by the President’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I am not so sanguine about other happenings in America’s political house of cards. It will be interesting to see what happens as Congress “cleans” its stable. While hopeful, I can’t help being concerned, particularly about the lack of due process to investigate allegations before people are basically forced from office in these days of nasty allegations and automatic conviction in the court of public opinion because we are now told we must automatically give total credence to the alleged victim. It is as though we are throwing away the rights our founders fought and died for, that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights – the right to be confronted by one’s accusers, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right to trial by one’s peers before a fair and impartial judge. Maybe it is because I am a lawyer. Maybe it is because so many of my own ancestors fought to maintain those liberties. Yes, there are good things happening but we are at a crossroads as a nation and we need to watch very carefully as we move forward that we remain on the path of justice and freedom and on God’s side of the equation. Too many seem to be using current events to steer us away from truth and justice.

    1. What you say is very true, Joyce, and a quick read of this morning’s news suggests that a very good man may have just chosen to resign in order to avoid nasty accusations when it seems that there was no real sexual harassment involved.

      1. I believe you are referring Trent Franks from AZ. I’ve always viewed him as a decent, honorable person. I wonder if his actions were a way of protecting his family.

        1. I am Lynn. And while I don’t know the details, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he may have crossed an increasingly shadowy line between work and home, but it doesn’t sound like he is a creep as so many others clearly are.

  6. Thanks for an inspired Musing! Like you, Ms. Susan, I choose idealism, just as the ancient Hebrews were exhorted to ‘choose life.’ In so doing, we are following the Founding Fathers, who had seen the horrific results of tyranny, ghastly religious wars and persecution in Europe, and took steps to banish them in their new State by declaring human rights as inalienable gifts from God himself. The question is, with a corrupted Media now controlling and slanting what people hear, can our idealism gain a foothold among the young Millennials, who have grown up misplacing trust in Big Government?

    1. James, the lack of wisdom among our young is frightening. It used to be that at least young people had the building blocks of thinking so that they could grow into wisdom, but I do worry that with the technological distractions and the indoctrination in school, too many may not have the foundation to grow in wisdom.

  7. Very well spoken Susan. Cleverly designed deceptive words are the incantation of the corrupt politician… always has been. Why is it that whoever possesses the greatest skills of this evil attribute seems to always feel a strong desire to run for political office? Just like a predator they are testing us, like unsuspecting prey, to see if we have the faith and guts to call them out and take a stand against their wiley ways. We must never lose sight of this truth–“Words without corresponding action is dead.”

    1. I wish deceptive words were limited to politicians, Michael. They’re used often in relationships and a great deal of marketing skirts the line. I wrote a Musing a long time ago about how intrinsically wrong were political slogans like, “A chicken in every pot…” and “No child left behind,” since such sweeping generalizations can’t possibly be true, but that is what we as a populace seem to demand.

  8. Yes I agree with you. It would be nice if more people would be less critical on their judgements of one another and more realistic. Everyone through history has made mistakes and we should be held accountable for those mistakes by our laws and God. What I see is most if not all are dismissing these mistakes or crimes without the simple public words of ” Yes I made a few mistakes please forget me”. Not until we are able to admit to our mistakes publicly, especially those in higher offices will there be a turn-around of seeing good come from bad. I can not think of a more perfect saying than what Jesus said, for if there is one of you without sin cast the first stone.

    1. Mistakes covers a large category, Gus, the way you’re using it. Sometimes you can ask forgiveness but there are still consequences. And saying, “I’m sorry if others were offended,” is not an admission or apology as you point out.

  9. If there are three frogs on a log and one decides to jump off, how many are left? It’s still three. I think I’ll just wait and see. Words don’t mean much anymore.

    1. Both of these sets of words did mean something, Jim. Trump did an action, not just speak and Rep. Rice also acted – specifically against the idea that talking was enough. I give her credit for being real about this early on before others sensed the political winds and jumped aboard.

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