Of the shining city on a hill

Of the shining city on a hill September 29, 2020



(Wikimedia Commons public domain image).  I need one of these on my lawn.


Sigh.  Against my resolution and my better judgment, I watched the presidential debate tonight.


I vowed several weeks ago that I would post no political blog entries here, and I’ve kept my promise.  I will make an exception only tonight, and then I’ll return to my nonpartisan silence.  I have now made my presidential choice.  See above.


I’m deeply troubled for my country.


In his sermon A Model of Christian Charity (ca. 1630), Governor John Winthrop said the following:


For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. Soe that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world. . . .

We must delight in each other, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body.

On 3 November 1980, Ronald Reagan referred to A Model of Christian Charity in his address “A Vision for America,” delivered on election eve:


I have quoted John Winthrop’s words more than once on the campaign trail this year—for I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining “city on a hill,” as were those long ago settlers … These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still… a shining city on a hill.



Mr. Reagan returned to this theme many times throughout his presidency, notably in the farewell speech that he gave to the nation on 11 January 1989:


I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.


God bless the memory of Ronald Reagan.  How I miss him.


And now, as I close, I go on record:  I look forward to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom I regard as an absolutely stellar nominee.  I’m enthusiastic.  I could not be happier about her nomination.  She was, in fact, my favored candidate back in 2018, when Mr. Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh instead.



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