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November 11, 2006
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· Veterans' Day Election Reflections — John Henry Cardinal Newman Style ·
Ironically, this has put me in mind of someone hardly linked with most matters democratic, John Henry Cardinal Newman. Maybe it's what comes from my reflecting on Nancy Pelosi's sudden rise to power — as our first woman and first Italian-American-Catholic soon to live just two heartbeats from the presidency. Hers is a sensibility, you might agree, very different from that of the man occupying the office. In any event, I thought to share a passage apt to an understanding of a possible reason fit to that development. Though I doubt Cardinal Newman ever quite anticipated my particular take on his point, its delineation awaits some lines from his eloquently-styled sermon, "Implicit and Explicit Reason" (1887):
The point here lies, I think, in Newman's conclusion. Though we all admire his own skillful climb up the "mountain of truth" (seeing him as the storied "genius" of the ascent), it's rather his implicit nod to all men ("gifted or not") that signals a wider aim. We may think of it as his glimpsed vision of what we might call "distributed intelligence" — those indications, probabilities, associations, received laws, instincts, and memories mostly constituting our thinking. Since they belong to men and women alike, it's reason of Newman's "implicit" kind — whether in the voting booth or on the battle field — that I think we all counted last Tuesday.
It comes to us now, of course, chiefly to act on.Permalink
This blog just gets better and better.
"To act on"? What would you have us do?
The old things, I suppose, recognizing the leveraging work letters to Congress or even to newspapers have on public policy. Even non-citizens can help, like Garry Kasparov, whose Chessboard Endgame focuses vision on wider, strategic truths.
Political victory, I should say, is hardly electoral victory — a theme I once explored.
Another example of such needed political action appeared today, Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on President Bush's BBC-reported thoughts on sending added troops to Iraq.
It's one of the bravest TV commentaries ever aired.
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