Let's confess it: America has been humbled. First during Trump's presidency, when our elites abandoned any pretense of patriotism and high-minded civic concern. Instead, they treated our duly elected president like some foreign-imposed dictator, the fruit of "Russian collusion." Then our media and social media decided that half of their fellow citizens were reckless, hate-mongering rubes. After that, our cities erupted with carefully coordinated, Marxist-led riots. Then a blatantly stolen election and a vicious crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators of Jan. 6. The only fair word to describe our political system right now is not "democracy" but "anarcho-tyranny."
Our borders are out of control, just like those of some failed state. Our economy is staggering, under the lingering impact of superstitious, quasi-medieval reactions to a biowarfare attack. Our liberties hang by a thread, as powerful global corporations ally with deep state actors to silence and shame us. Our travel's getting restricted. Some of us might lose our jobs or get kicked out of school for making our own medical decisions.
At a time like this, empathy can be in pretty short supply. Even for Christians. We of all people should have learned in the school of the Cross that our place is at its foot, consoling the suffering innocents as St. John did Our Lady. But it's hard to stay there. We'd flee, if we could, the smell of blood and excrement, the shame of this-worldly failure, the mockery of the mob and the sneers of the Pilates and Sadducees. We'd rather be off with the mass of Apostles, quietly hiding till things blow over.
But that's not what God calls us to do. Here we stand, at America's lowest point since the Iranian hostage crisis, knowing that God still calls us to love Him and love our neighbor. To keep our promises, help our friends, stand firm on our principles and hold our battered heads high. It's in a moment of crisis that you can really know someone's character. Does he start kicking his dog? Threatening women and children? Stiffing his creditors and telling lies?
But enough about Andrew Cuomo. I'm talking about real Americans now, who believe in our founding documents and the God whose image of man they firmly enshrined. That image of man, hobbled by sin but shimmering with dignity and rights, must glow in our hearts. We need it, if only to keep our respect for ourselves at a moment of global contempt. I'm reminded of a musical my parents loved, whose record I wore out playing when I was kid, The Man of La Mancha:
And the world will be better for this
Oh, that one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strong with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.
By that, I certainly don't mean the American empire, the neocon daydream of a Middle East full of Planned Parenthoods, transgender clinics and high-priced rental homes, each with 2.5 children of secular helicopter parents. No, the "impossible dream" that should move us is this: a world where human beings get treated as images of God, in accord with the natural law. That should be the central principle of our politics and the goal of our private activism on any given issue.
Read the rest at The Stream.