Who is the happy warrior? Who is he?
Every man in arms should want to be what they are?
It is the generous Spirit who, when brought, brings it all.
There are many tasks in real life.
On the plan that satisfied his boyish thought
High-level endeavors can be a source of inner light.
This makes his path always clear.
With a natural instinct to discern, who?
Knowledge is only as good as the effort to acquire it.
This resolve is what keeps you going, and not where you are stopping.
He makes his morality his primary care
William Wordsworth, “Character for the Happy Warrior”
Surprise, disappointment, and blow. After a weekend of speculation, called races, the midterm stomach-punch continued to worsen and sickness sharpening last week for those who hoped that there would be a red wave. Although many people on both sides of this aisle expected a red surge, I said “hoped for”, even though it was something that many, including me, believed. Although I said “hoped for”, many people believed in that there would be a red tide. This was foolishness. This was foolishness. We have indeed lost if we can’t find joy in these circumstances. For most of us, the task remains unchanged.
Former President Donald Trump announced his candidacy to the Republican nomination. A week later, 2022 is reminiscent of 2015. MAGA is back. Trump stated that this is “our campaign”. According to a statement, Ivanka has been expelled. It is possible to put together the best Trump team. American workers and American families will be the first to benefit. Some will answer the call and join the campaign to work for a second Trump government. This is an emotional datum, which suggests possible futures for many, but it does not affect their daily lives. There are other callings and other places they can stand.
Faith in national politics are being tested. This is a good thing. It is important to have the patience to keep going no matter what. Some readers may roll their eyes and yawn at this point; they are holier than I, and have long since given up on voting and believed that the march of progress would be stalled by votes and ballots. They had already learned to let polls go loosely long before the 2016 election. This was doubly true when the results confirmed their wishes. The system is so large that it has outgrown human life. Who will fill in the bubble for A and B to make this better?
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Resignation is possible, but it takes patience. It leaves men empty. It doesn’t protect us from the besetting sin that is mass democracy: infotainment and politics as spectator sport. The fight over bread itself is the circus. You can denigrate the utility and meaning of elections and call all cities on earth idols and still live a life surrounded by this denial and condemnation. All you do is listen to the sounds and fury and feel superior to the idiot. The complete patience of the whole man is aware that all this is fading away and still goes back to the plow to get his daily bread. He does not wait, but he is active.
I am not advocating for quietism. I love the quiet solitude of the monastery and the horse-and-buggy. But we live in the world together. Let’s not lose sight of the goal. You can still do the work that you did to create a little garden from the desert. To receive our inheritance, and to hold it in trust for future generations to beget and pass it on to the begotten is your responsibility. This responsibility could not have been taken away by a red wave. You cannot remove that responsibility from any candidate. Voting is a way to become the voice of God for hundreds of thousands of people and call them to their work. But ours remain. Your fellow Americans will soon be senators or staffers in the Senate. Some who believed they would be will not. You and I are still where we are, as we were always going to be, regardless of how last week went.
Let us ask for wisdom to see where we are placed. Let us also ask for the faith to believe there are worthwhile things there, and that our perch on the ladder of subsidiarity is not a mere coincidence. Yes, some are called to govern others, to make decisions about the future of the nation, and to manage its resources. A few others are needed to support them, to be their staff and their hands and feet. Most aren’t and will not answer for small things. Politics starts with the family. There are many opportunities at home, but it is a long ladder with many rungs. There will be many years of hard work before you can vote or shape the highest elections. The machine is strong and there is no way to retreat.