One of the interesting phenomena of my recent reassignment to St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle VA has been a rather dramatic shift in my sleep patterns. Be it attributable to winter’s approach, different sunlight in this more northern climate, getting on in years, or some as-yet-to-be-diagnosed condition – I am living out the old axiom of “early to bed, early to rise.” By 8:30 pm I am glancing at the clock, thinking whether its too early to go to bed. While I think “maybe I can write for a bit…” that never works out well. So, pull the covers up, settle in and come 3:30 am or 4:00 am life again stirs. And I find I have more energy for the creative things and early morning prayer…and its always surprising what captures my imagination.
Pope John XXIII’s first encyclical, Ad Petri cathedram (1959) contains the oft quoted “…in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters liberty; in all things, charity.” I think about that these days here in the aftermath of the 2020 elections when the political divide grows grows larger in every segment of American life. It’s not just in your families and your communities. The same dynamic is evident in fracture lines in parishes, among the clergy, and among/between bishops. Which is what makes me think about “…in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters liberty; in all things, charity.” I suspect we all need to reminded of the basic admonition.
Our current political attention is focusing on Georgia and the upcoming elections to fill both of their Senate seats. At the same time the GOP is filing (and losing) case after case alleging fraud on a massive level. Their particular ire is now directed against “their own” as they focus on Georgia’s governor and secretary of state – both Republicans. Brad Raffensperger, a Georgia’s secretary of state recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal: “November’s election was the most secure in history. In Georgia there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and no significant issues with absentee ballots. Through three separate counts, including one by hand, the outcome in Georgia has remained the same. The crisis America’s elections face is not one of security, but one of confidence.” It raises the question, “Why Do So Many Americans Think the Election Was Stolen” an excellent article by NY Times opinion writer Ross Douthat.
You might have already answered the question Douthat poses depending on whether your candidate won. Clearly one holding a view other than yours is not dealing with the evidence, is blind, lacks reasoning skills, can’t see the trees for the forest, has consumed the party view hook line and sinker, and ______ (fill in your own response). A reminder here seems appropriate: “…in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters liberty; in all things, charity.”
The election is over and the easiest thing to do is to remain leave it all behind and move on. Anderson Cooper, several weeks ago said we should ignore Donald Trump because it no longer matters – he lost and will leave office. But here’s the thing – while 81 million people voted for Joe Biden, 74 million voted for Donald Trump – and 62 million voted for him in 2016 while 65 million voted for Hillary Clinton. That’s a lot of people to dismiss because one does not agree with them… and I suspect one cannot answer the question why they would vote for him, just as now, one cannot fathom why they might think the election was stolen. This matters. This in not going away. Nor will the divides unless we speak about it.
One starting place is the Douthat article. Then remember Pope John XXIII’s words. And then take it all into prayer. And then into your world.
So that’s what I have been musing about this morning… probably will need a “power nap” at some point today.