Helping the Republic Keep its Head

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . .

Thus begin Rudyard Kipling’s familiar verses on becoming a man. We might also apply them to the increasingly difficult challenge of keeping our republic in times such as these.

If this blog does not regularly address the events of each day, it is not because its author is indifferent to them. Indeed, the heart of this citizen is breaking as the prospects of keeping our republic intact seem to grow ever slimmer.

In a pale imitation of Xenophon’s Socrates, I hope to contribute to the betterment of political society by focusing on the knowledge and virtues that may help the next generation pick up the pieces that the present one is scattering far and wide.

Precisely because I appreciate the difficulty of speaking sensibly when the world itself seems to be losing its senses, however, I want to commend Representative Steven Holt of the Iowa House of Representatives for his effort to help citizens “understand what happened in Washington DC on January 6th.”

Representative Holt makes it very clear that “there is no justification [for] the actions of those, whether Antifa infiltrators or Trump supporters, who stormed Congress during the electoral certification process.”

At the same time, Holt explains why those exploiting this incident to intensify their extended campaign of nuclear warfare against President Trump and his supporters share much of the blame for what is happening.

In recent years, “Conservatives have seen their faith mocked and their most fundamental rights threatened.”

They have been silenced on social media and seen fellow conservatives fired from jobs for simply having a differing viewpoint. They have seen our education system attack traditional American values and teach doctrine that divides us. They have been villainized by media and the Left, called names, and most recently threatened with retaliation by far-left politicians for their support of President Trump.

Meanwhile, Holt notes, the same media decrying what they would like to portray as an attempted coup have spent the past several months rationalizing rioting and violence by those sharing their own agenda and biases.

Those disposed to join in yet another “Two Minute Hate” ought to consider Holt’s observation that this breaching of Capitol security interrupted “testimony being given by Republicans to support the President’s case” against election fraud, securing a political victory for his opponent.

Though I believe the President made a grave tactical error in holding a rally during these vital legislative deliberations, to accuse him of criminal intent is not only contrary to the evidence of his own words and actions, but to any reasonable construal of his motives and interests.

The same goes for the vast majority of those who regard him as a champion of their rights in the face of an increasingly hostile social climate.

“On both sides of the political spectrum, there is a profound loss of faith in the political system and in political leaders,” Holt notes. Those who sincerely desire a restoration of unity in this nation need to think carefully about the causes of this crisis and how their own behavior may be contributing to the problem.

Neither violence nor the systematic demonizing of millions of one’s fellow citizens can help us heal the wounds that divide us. Taking either or both as a recipe for civil harmony is indicative of a body politic that has lost its head.

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