I spent time this evening copying the Akedah–the story of the binding of Isaac, of his nearly being sacrificed to God. At the moment it was about to happen, God sent an angel. I think about the world around me and wonder where God’s angel is when we need it. I am left-leaning politically (as opposed to the left of, say, AOC). I worry about a world in which climate change could end in the human race’s extinction–and yet age-old certainties seem to spin in circles. It is like F. Scott Fitzgerald said in This Side of Paradise:
Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a reverie of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.
Then Fitzgerald ends with Armory saying, “I know myself, but that is all.”
That generation struggled to find its sense of self… and America survived somehow. Yet sometimes I look back to that cynical forecaster of the human condition and wonder if the belief in Progress that once sustained our ancestors is officially dead. I don’t know why liberals call themselves “Progressives” except that the term “liberal” became so unpopular. The truth is I am not sure the path between Teddy Roosevelt and Elizabeth Warren is a clear one. Not that I dislike Senator Warren… I only wish that in the current environment, the left which I am forced to vote for out of necessity, would admit that there was good in the past and not only evil.
I remember taking a Philosophy of Feminism class, where other kids commented with me that, “These women seem to be competing for who can have the most extreme position” claiming, among other things, that heterosexual sex was rape and that traditional religion and tradition should be disbanded. I know Kansas is a red state; I am not sure how wide the currency of the would-be revolutionaries of our generation really are. I find myself watching conservative commentators like Brian Williams because at one time suspecting him of voting for Donald Trump would be the end. I don’t like and never plan to vote for Donald Trump, but Brian Williams understands some things about “my people”: that we still eat Campbell’s Soup and don’t all believe in the “liberal media.” I know this makes me a reactionary of some sort… like William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Trial if I don’t watch it… but I really don’t connect to some liberal issues.
I don’t know how to say it loud enough that I don’t believe in Ron Regan of the Americans Against Religion Foundation; or Free Love or birth control advertised on the set; or the abuse of drugs or alcohol. I guess all of this makes me “conservative.” And yet I believe in the environment and am against Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric. So perhaps I am “purple.” I don’t know what being against anti-Semitism makes me anymore. Or the fact I wish Two and Half Men could be drop-kicked off the shelf.
The world seems to pass me by, and I am forty-two.
So I climb Mt. Moriah with Abraham, praying for peace and faith.