Nostalgia as Therapy
Can any possible good come out of the past five years of American Politics?
As I meditate about this question, I’m hearing the melody and words of Passenger’s hauntingly beautiful little song of recent years, “Let Her Go.” Give it a listen again, and think of “her” as a metaphor for “Liberty,” our guardian angel of everything we cherish about the high ideals of America’s founders and the good, decent and egalitarian form of governance that is possible when those in power also respect and cherish those ideals. Passenger | Let Her Go (Official Video)
But once we’ve lost her, how do we regain her? First we have to ask ourselves, “Are jobs, lower taxes, political power or world prestige worth trading for Liberty?” Are these selfish, self-centered desires for material well-being—as valid as they may be in the short term—an excuse for putting those high ideals on “hold” or worse, willfully ignoring them? If your answer is “no,” now it is on your shoulders to demand change to our present system of electing people to public office. Any such change, will have to begin at the grass-roots level, down here where you and I live.
In America, we are all participants in the political process, whether we like it or not. We can speak up and contribute, or we can retreat into our own little cocoons of self-indulgence, the constant consumption of entertainment. We have to stop looking at our politics as a “Game of Thrones” done by politician-actors whose far-away antics we check nightly on the evening news.
The first thing you and I can do is start vocally demanding that we develop an improved way of vetting candidates—so as to reject those whose values run counter to our founders’ utopian vision. Any vetting process requires a set of standards or requirements against which to hold the thing or person being evaluated. These standards will need to be developed, but they should include: level of education, level of knowledge of our history and of our legislative process, along with an emotional profile that demonstrates that the candidate is predictably able to withstand the psychological challenges of the office they seek. The crux of this is that we should “hire” the guardians of that precious vision using the same rigorous scrutiny that we use for hiring a new employee. God knows, the stakes are much higher.