As we rapidly approach the June primary, this article is dedicated to those people who work and sacrifice for and contribute to the candidates and issues that are the foundations of our lives. Having worked for many candidates in the past several years. And I am in awe of those who run for office, them and their families, their dedication, and commitment.
I wrote earlier this year about the nine “Paradoxical Commandments” that Mother Teresa made famous and now add my one contribution:
“Your family and friends may not understand, your checkbook will take way too many hits, you will not have enough time for anything, and ultimately you and/or your candidate may lose….
Run for office anyway. It is the foundation of our lives. Participate in the strengthening, remaking or in fighting the suicide of our society and culture.
Political columnist, journalist and pundit Charles Krauthammer is a personal favorite of mine. Dr. Krauthammer is a licensed M.D. and Psychiatrist who finished college, med school and his Psychiatric training and residency after being paralyzed in a car accident. He gave up his medical and Psychiatric practice to return to his passion, politics, which he had been involved in early in his life. See his piece below on the importance of politics and your engagement in it at any level.
Vote on June 3!
Now, from Dr. Krauthammer’s recent book, “Things that Matter”:
Politics, the crooked timber of our lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything-high and low and, most especially, high-lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history; this is Germany, 1933.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know, said 19th century English poet John Keats, oblivious to the horrors of the century to come…Turns out we need to know one more thing on earth: politics-because of its capacity, when benign, to allow all around it to flourish, and its capacity when malign, to make all around it wither.
This is no abstraction. We see it in North Korea, whose deranged Stalinist politics has created a land of stunning desolation and ugliness, both spiritual and material. We saw it in China’s Cultural Revolution, a sustained act of national self-immolation, designed to dethrone, debase, and destroy the highest achievements of five millennia of Chinese culture….
Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay and everything burns. The entire 20th century with its mass political enthusiasms is a lesson in the supreme power of politics to produce ever expanding circles of ruin. World War I not only killed more people than any previous war. The psychological shock of Europe’s senseless self-inflicted devastation forever changed Western sensibilities, practically overthrowing the classical arts, virtues, and modes of thought.
The Russian Revolution and its imitators (Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, and Cambodian) tried to atomize society so thoroughl y that the most basic bonds of family, faith, fellowship and conscience came to near dissolution. Of, course, the greatest demonstration of the finality of politics is the Holocaust, which in less than a decade destroyed a millennium-old civilization, sweeping away not only 6 million souls but the institutions, the culture, the very tongue of the now-vanished world of European Jewry.
The only power comparably destructive belongs to God. Or nature. Or if like [Thomas] Jefferson you cannot quite decide, Nature’s God. And yet even God cannot match the cruelty of his creation. For every (act of kindness), there are a hundred massacres of innocents. And that is the work of man-more particularly, the work of politics, of groups of men organized to gain and exercise power.
The most considered and balanced statement of politics’ place in the hierarchy of human disciplines came, naturally, from an American. “I must study politics and war,” wrote John Adams, “that way my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First, and above all else, you must secure life, liberty, and the right to pursue your own happiness. That’s politics done right, hard-earned, often by war.
And yet the glories yielded by such a successful politics lie outside itself. Its deepest purpose is to create the conditions for the cultivation of the finer things…..And yet he (Adams) once said “that there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide”. Jefferson was less sanguine about the durability of liberty. He wrote that a constitutional revolution might be needed every 20 years. Indeed, the lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.”
Or as Edmund Burke (1729-1797),Irish political philosopher, Whig politician and statesman said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Vote Republican on June 3rd.
~ Hal Bray, a frequent contributor, is vice chair of the Contra Costa County Republican Party. His views are his own and do not reflect any editorial policy or endorsement by Halfway To Concord.