In the aftermath of the horrific political event of four days past, an event occurring in what we must now regard as another American era, my fellow citizens chose to award the next presidency of our Republic to a reprehensible iteration of some very dark, atavistic forces. Down we go, I thought in the early morning hours of the Wednesday morning just past, as the deciding tallies were added to the already dismal counts, down, eagerly and happily, the most dangerous of rabbit holes, possibly never to emerge.
In my despairing reaction to this truly unexpected event–a reaction I know I share with many millions of good souls around the globe–I have tried, as have so many of these others, to find some ray of hope in the gloom, some beacon, however small, which might serve as a fledgling first step toward reclaming the vanished light. I believe I have in the following words of Mr. Ruskin’s–his reaffirmation, after long, intense, despairing experience of his own, that, at its core, human nature is both lovely and admirable, whatever the immediate indications may be which imply the contrary. His sentences come from a book of collected lectures bearing the wonderful title, The Crown of Wild Olive. Perhaps you will find them of some use and inspiration during these heavy days.
I speak with the conviction that human nature is a noble and beautiful thing, not a foul or a base thing. All the sin of men I esteem as their disease, not their nature, as a folly which can be prevented, not a necessity which must be accepted. And my wonder, even when things are at their worst, is always at the height which this human nature can attain. Thinking it high, I always find it a higher thing than I thought it, while those who think it low, find it, and will find it, always, lower than they thought it. The fact being that it is infinite, and capable of infinite height and infinite fall. But the nature of it–and here is the faith which I would have you hold with me–the nature of it is in the nobleness, not in the catastrophe.
Much good work yet to do, then; much good effort yet to be expended.