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Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Donald Trump, CPAC 2023 Keynote address
 @2:32, "I am your retribution."
Peter Wehner, writing in The Atlantic.
Revenge creates a cycle of retaliation. It “keeps wounds green, which otherwise would heal,” in the words of Francis Bacon. Vengeance is insatiable, and in any society, over the long term, it can be deeply damaging. The desire for revenge reduces the capacity for legislators to work together across the aisle. It creates conditions in which demagogues can successfully peddle conspiracy theories and call for a “national divorce.” It leads Americans to see members of their opposing party as traitors. And exacting revenge tempts people to employ immoral and illegal methods—street violence, coups, insurrections—they would not otherwise contemplate. (The defamation lawsuit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems revealed that a Fox producer texted Maria Bartiromo, a Fox news anchor, saying, “To be honest, our audience doesn’t want to hear about a peaceful transition.”)..

Human emotions can be dominant and even determinative in distorting and deforming people’s judgments. Individuals who honestly believe that the Bible is authoritative in their lives—who insist that they cherish Jesus’s teachings from the Sermon on the Mount (blessed are the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers, and the pure in heart; turn the other cheek; love your enemies) and Paul’s admonition to put away anger, wrath, slander, and malice and replace them with compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, a spirit of forgiveness, and, above all, love, “which binds everything together in perfect harmony”—find themselves embracing political figures and a political ethic that are antithetical to these precepts. Many of those who claim in good faith that their Christian conscience required them to get passionately involved in politics have, upon doing so, discredited their Christian witness. Jesus has become a “hood ornament,” in the words of the theologian Russell Moore, in this case placed atop tribal and “culture war” politics…

The antidote to the politics of retribution is the politics of forbearance. Forbearance is something of a neglected virtue; it is generally understood to mean patience and endurance, a willingness to show mercy and tolerance, making allowances for the faults of others, even forgiving those who offend you. Forbearance doesn’t mean avoiding or artificially minimizing disagreements; it means dealing with them with integrity and a measure of grace, free of vituperation.

None of us can perfectly personify forbearance, but all of us can do a little better, reflect a bit more on what kind of human beings and citizens we want to be, and take small steps toward greater integrity. We can ask ourselves: What, in this moment, is most needed from me and those in my political community, and perhaps even my faith community? Do we need more retribution and vengeance in our politics, or more reconciliation, greater understanding, and more fidelity to truth?

The greatest embodiment of the politics of forbearance was Abraham Lincoln. With a Civil War looming, he was still able to say, in his first inaugural address, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have been strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Those bonds were broken; the war came. By the time it ended, more than 700,000 lives had been lost in a nation of 31 million. But the war was necessary; Lincoln preserved the Union and freed enslaved people. And somehow, through the entire ordeal, Lincoln was free of malice. He never allowed his heart to be corroded by enmity or detestation…
Jesus has become a “hood ornament,” in the words of the theologian Russell Moore, in this case placed atop tribal and “culture war” politics.
Click cover image
Yeah. Again, though, "Why Do Humans Reason?"
To "win" the argument. Should truth happen along the way, so much the better. All goes to my recurrent "Deliberation Science" riffs.

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