The toxicity of the election year will only get worse. The density of media coverage forces candidates to get more sensational. It's the only way to be noticed.
To keep sane, I turn to seasoned wisdom. Here are five quotes that calm me down and give me perspective.
“Those who yell the loudest and pound the hardest usually have the weakest argument.” - Bob the Farmer
My father-in-law said this a few years ago. He has decades of experience in agricultural business. He sat on enough boards to know who was insecure. Argument by sheer volume generally means there’s little substance.
“It’s cute when you’re two. It’s inappropriate when you’re 22.” - Bob the Farmer on the adolescent behavior of grown men.
The toddler throws a tantrum. You discipline him. He needs to know it’s not OK to act this way. At the same time you’re trying not to laugh. But when a grown man throws a tantrum, it's not funny anymore. It only reveals juvenile character that never progressed after adolescence.
“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage . . .” C.S. Lewis
I was sitting with my 10-year-old daughter watching the 5:30 news on Super Tuesday. (Yes, I'm an old man. I occasionally watch the evening news with all the commercials for age-related physical maladies.) I cringed for her as if we were watching an expletive-laden scene of a movie. The leading Republican candidate was abusive in his posture and belittling in his tone. “I don’t want her to see or hear this,” I thought.
Then it occurred to me, “She needs to know adults can be bullies too. And she needs exemplars of the best character in order to combat them.” So we talked about her teachers and her grandmas.
“Never waste a good crisis.”
This is the ugliest campaign I have witnessed in my few decades of existence. What can I learn from it? Fear is a powerful force. People do desperate things when afraid. Don’t live in fear.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” - Martin Luther
Should we be apocalyptic about this particular election, as some suggest?
Come hell, death, terror, famine, failure, and elections. We are people of hope. We believe there is a Day beyond the day when the world goes to pieces. Until that Day, we keep doing what we have been called to do.
We strive to be wise, graceful, diligent, faithful neighbors, citizens, voters, and members of society. If and when the world is in pieces, march through the shards in hope. Above all the smog and static, one Ruler stands. He's already been elected.
Let's keep planting trees.