I once held and expressed political views. I no longer do. In order to protect the wholly apolitical Interpreter Foundation, I’ve managed to transcend them, and I’ve been so successful in doing it that I can’t even name the current American prime minister or identify the two major political parties in the United States. (Labour and the Whigs, I think. Or perhaps the Christian Democrats.) Still, because (as I like to think) I’m in reasonably good contact with reality, stories such as these tend to catch my completely neutral, nonpartisan, and objective attention:
“Donald Trump says Utah Sen. Mike Lee, one of his biggest allies, should be ashamed for not backing his claims of election fraud”: Former president rips Lee and Sen. Lindsey Graham for not backing his election fraud claims”
I couple articles such as those above with the following earlier items:
And, of course, I think of the events at the Capitol of the United States back on 6 January 2021.
In that light, while reading a little bit about Abraham Lincoln yesterday, I came across the following two passages from widely separated periods of his life, and they struck me as eerily and unfortunately relevant to our time:
Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled – the successful establishing and the successful administering of it. One still remains – its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can no be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace; teaching men that what they cannot take by an election neither can they take by a war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.
Message to Congress (4 July 1861)
From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.
Address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois (27 January 1838)
Now, some may think that I’m dipping back into partisan politics. But I’m not. This is much more fundamental than merely Christian Democrat versus Whig. In that same 1838 Lyceum Address, Lincoln went on to describe the Constitution and rule of law in the United States as “the political religion of our nation.” Even earlier, John Adams (I believe), who was seeking to define the concept of a republic, coined the phrase “a government of laws, and not of men.” I hope that that phrase still belongs to our American political creed.
And, again, it’s a matter of basic, straightforward, incontestable reality. Donald Trump (to pick a name totally at random, simply for the purpose of illustrating my point) did not become president on 4 March 2021 or on 13 August 2021, and he’s not going to become president, if he ever does, at any point prior to 20 January 2025, Inauguration Day. If Joe Biden relinquishes the presidency at any time prior to Inauguration Day 2025, the office will be assumed (for good or for ill is irrelevant to my point) by Vice President Kamala Harris. If she doesn’t, it will be assumed by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. If the Speaker of the House isn’t available, the presidency will be assumed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, who is currently Patrick Leahy (D-VT). If the President Pro Tempore of the Senate is unavailable, the next person in the order of succession is the Secretary of State, currently Antony Blinken. Thereafter, in order, come the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Homeland Security. Those are the simple facts. And Donald Trump holds none of those offices.
This also is a matter not of politics (whatever politics may mean!) but, in my view, of simple reality:
On a more cheery note, here’s a link that, among other things, features an Orthodox Jewish fondness for Latter-day Saints:
But this is a blog largely devoted to issues connected with religion, and so, surely, it wouldn’t be right to suggest that religious belief and religious believers aren’t a blight on humanity. Cody Quirk located this horror, from British Columbia, in the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©:
And, finally, here’s a recent post on the sadly necessary Neville-Neville Land blog: