We change the world through courage and hope — not blame and grievance
We can't afford to destroy ourselves while resisting evil
Jill Lepore’s article in the 12 November issue of The New Yorker is brilliant. She calls for a better response to Donald Trump than many of his opponents are currently delivering.
Drawing on the wisdom of Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild and Martin Luther King, Jr she reminds us that, ‘the bloody-mindedness of deranged and broken men can be countered only by principle and fortitude.’
Courage and hope are not the language of Trump’s most vociferous political opponents. Blame and grievance are their language, the language of the times, the grammar of Twitter, the idiom of Trump, the taste of bile. Trump’s critics have often answered his viciousness with their own viciousness, his abandonment of norms with their abandonment, his fear-mongering with their fear-mongering, his unwillingness to speak to the whole of the country with their own parochialism.
But the bloody-mindedness of deranged and broken men can be countered only by principle and fortitude.
Trump wants us all to get in the gutter with him, to compromise our values. That's how he wins. That's how evil always prevails. We get deceived into thinking that anything is okay to defeat such a ghastly opponent. But in doing so we become part of the problem and not the solution.
That's why Lepore’s quote from Dr King to end the piece is particularly apt and a timely reminder:
If we don’t have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves. There have always been those who argued that the end justifies the means, that the means really aren’t important. But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.
We can't afford to destroy ourselves while resisting evil. We have to choose the path of courage and love.