There have been enumerable stories about the Great American Eclipse, but this is not.
I am a stargazer. I even have an app on my iPhone to help me identify stars, planets and constellations. Interestingly, all heavenly bodies except the moon and the sun were considered “stars” in antiquity. The word planet derives from the word for “wanderer” because ancient stargazers saw what we now know as planets move against the backdrop of night, whereas true stars did not because they were so far away.
I rarely look up at our own star (the sun) because it’s only ninety-three million miles from earth and staring at its brightness can damage retinal cells causing solar maculopathy and blindness. Eye specialists warned everyone to use approved eclipse glasses and then enjoy the celestial show. I did.
I find it fascinating that our moon is large enough and orbits the earth just far enough to perfectly eclipse or block the sun millions of miles away. For me, the semi-darkness at mid-day and the feathery corona boiling off the sun were the most impressive aspects of this once in lifetime event.
It was great to have everyone looking up on August 21 rather than looking down, at least for a moment. Last week I wrote about beauty. Too often the beauty around us is eclipsed by the darkness. The eight hundred year old Jedi Master, Yoda, spoke of this in the Star Wars movies. He advised his young trainee, Luke Skywalker, to beware of the dark side of the force. Yoda, the Master of the misplaced modifier, said “Anger and hatred; the dark side of the Force they are.”
What I hear these days is hatred in the media, the alt-left and the rest of the unhinged nut-jobs like Antifa, the KKK types and Black Lives Matter. The Democrat leadership and RINOs may oppose President Trump, but I don’t perceive the abject hatred of CNN, the Washington Post and MSNBC. Perhaps I’m just being played by the media. Are they just being political opportunists and manipulating us? Or do they really believe that tearing down our past and America’s history will satisfy the mob? Our past is what made America a great country.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his book “The Gulag Archipelago” said that the way to destroy a country is by erasing its history. He should know because he survived Stalin’s labor camps and read George Orwell’s “1984,” where Big Brother expunges politically incorrect people from history. Erasing our past, our successes and our mistakes, will destroy America. Is this the freedom so many gave their lives for?
Recently, my minister quoted G. K. Chesterton in his sermon. The lesson of Beauty and the Beast, according to Chesterton, is that “a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” How profound that a fairy tale and Disney movie would pose such a challenge to every person, including Christians. Chesterton was an interesting guy who C. S. Lewis credits with leading him back to the Christian faith. The larger than life raconteur often debated atheists and haters, and would best them with his logic, reason and good humor.
I believe that many see President Trump as a beast and through eyes of hatred. I’ll admit that I was opposed to much of what President Obama said and his policies. But I never hated him and still do not. As Yoda said, hatred leads to the dark side and is a destroyer of the soul.
The Middle Ages were dubbed the Age of Faith because the zeitgeist of that period held that truth came through faith. In the 1200s observational truth increasingly challenged a faith-based reality. And by the 17th century the scientific method and reason heralded new directions for discovering truth. The pentacle of this era was the Enlightenment which existed at the founding of our country. And the quintessential philosophical statement of the Enlightenment was the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. Yes, Jefferson was a flawed man just like each of us. However, it is ludicrous and destructive to apply our post-modern standards to Jefferson’s era of the 1700s.
I suspect future historians will look back on our era as the end of the Age of Reason and the dawn of the era of PPC (Progressive Political Correctness). The Chinese are now referring to the lunacy of American race and gender hustlers, identity politics, and the anarchists in the streets as America’s own “cultural revolution.”
Charles Dickens begins his famous book “A Tale of Two Cities” with the intriguing opening line, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” I feel similarly. This is the best time of my life, but it is one of the worst times for my beloved country. It hurts my soul listening to the haters in the media and the anarchists in the streets. I know what is right and what is not. I am no longer conflicted, but I still care for and try to love the souls lost to the hatred of the dark side.
There isn’t a lot I can do for those eclipsed by darkness, except pray for them. C. S. Lewis was once asked if prayer changes the mind of God. Lewis replied he didn’t know, but he said prayer changed his own attitude and perspective.
We hear a steady drumbeat of negativism from the media whose motto is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” So, I now refuse to listen to the talking heads who are so often wrong and long since succumbed to the dark side.
Instead, I choose a more positive approach and resist the darkness trying to eclipse my vision.
I came upon a summary of things that I consider positive in 2017. Others may view these differently. You still have the freedom to choose. Among the positive signs are:
- Constitutionalist Supreme Court Judge Gorsuch approved and sworn in.
- A drastic decline in illegal immigration.
- A surge in consumer confidence and manufacturing.
- Approval of energy transportation systems.
- Expanding job markets and opportunities for American citizens.
- Reduction in onerous EPA regulations.
- Deportation of violent illegal aliens.
- Reversal of the onerous Dodd-Frank rules.
- Soaring treasury receipts.
- Standing up to the North Korean tyrant, the Chinese communists and American media bullies.
Don’t let your soul be eclipsed by the “nattering nabobs of negativity.”