1. The Point of It All
Around 4:00 this morning I went to bed, pretty beaten down by Election Night. The president of the United States had declared victory, was openly talking about stealing the election, and had actively laid the predicate for resisting the transfer of power.
Republicans were basically silent. A couple people tweeted that it was “irresponsible” or “bad politics.” But I could not find a single member of the Republican party or Conservatism Inc. who was willing to say what this clearly was: A dangerous attempt to push America toward soft-authoritarianism that was—all on its own—disqualifying. No man who would say such things should be trusted with the presidency.
And then I looked at the returns and thought, “Wait a minute. Why do I care about this? Because half the country doesn’t give a crap. Why do I have to keep fighting this bullshit?”
The largest crowd size in history.
Very fine people on both sides.
A tremendous deal with North Korea.
There was no quid pro quo.
The virus will go away like a miracle.
We only have so many cases because we do so much testing.
Hunter Biden’s laptop from hell.
We’ve been fighting this assault on the rule of law, on human decency, on truth, on liberalism itself for five years. Five forking years. It’s exhausting. And if I can be completely candid with you: I don’t want to do it anymore.
As I walked upstairs to bed, this line from Garry Kasparov hit me like a shot:
Because of course. That’s the point of it. This man is trying to exhaust the country into giving up. When a man has power and no conscience, he pays no price for lying. Either practical or psychological. The price is borne entirely by the normal people who push back against the lies. Who refuse to accommodate his will to power. Who insist that there is objective reality.
I know you’re tired. God knows, I’m tired too.
But you cannot lay down this burden. Not yet.
Finish the fight.
2. We’re All in this Together
I talked about this on Monday and I want re-emphasize it here.
And to do that, I want to share something my friend Erick Erickson wrote yesterday.
A lot of you don’t share Erick’s politics. But he is easy to love. Because this is how his heart works:
Tomorrow, we may not know who the winner of the presidency is.
But somewhere in your local community, there’ll be a homeless person who needs help. Somewhere, right now, a husband is hitting his wife and she’s about to pack up their children and escape to a battered women’s shelter. A family, tonight, is going to lose their home in a fire and have nowhere to turn. A family whose jobs disappeared with the virus will need a meal from the local food bank. A child will slip further behind in literacy at a local school. An elderly couple will go another day without face to face contact with another person.
Whoever becomes President and whichever party controls the Senate or your state legislature will be unable to fix those things. They will have zero impact in any meaningful way on the lives of those people.
But you can.
We have all obsessed with this election. We are all fretful. We all have an interest in it. But the homeless, the battered wife, the child, the hungry, and the isolated do not need a president, a senator, or a congressman. They all need your commitment to your local community. They need a neighbor’s love. . . .
Scripture says to seek the welfare of the city in which you live. You can certainly do that with a vote, but a vote comes on one day every other year. On that day and every other day of the year, someone in your community is in need. . . .
Both sides are convinced that if their guy loses, the country is going to hell in a handbasket. I assure you, despite the hysteria, that is not really the case. But it is the case that someone in your community is falling through the cracks and you can help.
Seek the welfare of your community and please go love your neighbor today, tomorrow, and the day after that.
3. Something To Read
IN APRIL 2017, a man started hiking in a state park just north of New York City. He wanted to get away, maybe from something and maybe from everything. He didn’t bring a phone; he didn’t bring a credit card. He didn’t even really bring a name. Or at least he didn’t tell anyone he met what it was.
He did bring a giant backpack, which his fellow hikers considered far too heavy for his journey. And he brought a notebook, in which he would scribble notes about Screeps, an online programming game. The Appalachian Trail runs through the area, and he started walking south, moving slowly but steadily down through Pennsylvania and Maryland. He told people he met along the way that he had worked in the tech industry and he wanted to detox from digital life.
Hikers sometimes acquire trail names, pseudonyms they use while deep in the woods. He was “Denim” at first, because he had started his trek in jeans. Later, it became “Mostly Harmless,” which is how he described himself one night at a campfire. Maybe, too, it was a reference to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Early in the series, a character discovers that Earth is defined by a single word in the guide: harmless. Another character puts in 15 years of research and then adds the adverb. Earth is now “mostly harmless.”
By summer, the hiker was in Virginia, where he walked about a hundred miles with a 66-year-old woman who went by the trail name Obsidian. She taught him how to make a fire, and he told her he was eager to see a bear. On December 1, Mostly Harmless had made it to northern Georgia, where he stopped in a store called Mountain Crossings. A veteran hiker named Matt Mason was working that day, and the two men started talking. Mostly Harmless said that he wanted to figure out a path down to the Florida Keys. Mason told him about a route and a map he could download to his phone. “I don’t have a phone,” Mostly Harmless replied. Describing the moment, Mason remembers thinking, “Oh, this guy’s awesome.” Everyone who goes into the woods is trying to get away from something. But few people have the commitment to cut their digital lifelines as they put on their boots.
Mason printed the 60 pages of the map and sold it to Mostly Harmless for $5 cash, which the hiker pulled from a wad of bills that Mason remembers being an inch thick. Mason loves hikers who are a little bit different, a little bit strange. He asked Mostly Harmless if he could take a picture. Mostly Harmless hesitated but then agreed. He then left the shop and went on his way. Two weeks later, Mason heard from a friend in Alabama who had seen Mostly Harmless hiking through a snowstorm. “He was out there with a smile on his face, walking south,” Mason recalls.