I cannot tell gentle reader how shocked (shocked!) I am to learn that Donald Trump talks dirty in private; or that Hillary Clinton says one thing to small paying audiences in Wall Street, and quite another to big audiences across the USA. This changes everything. It revolves my commitments 360 degrees. From a position of condemning both candidates, I come out giving my support to neither. Or perhaps the turn was only 359; for the shrieking hypocrisy of the international media, and the whole political class, has possibly moved me one point closer to Trump. It is hard to pick out, however, one-sixth of a second on the dial of a small watch.
Perhaps the most sordid and widely-watched political “debate” (“ever!”) will occur in wild “town hall” format on the networks tonight. I think the rest of us may meet elsewhere, because we’ll all be out for a walk. Pubs must be avoided, alas; for they’ll be showing the implosion on their wide-screen TVs.
Up here in the Great North, where the sun is now declining, and the leaves will soon fall, it is the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving. There is much for which Canadians could be thankful — quite sincerely if we could overcome our smugness. We could envy the Americans if we were capable of grasping that they have some outward choice, however repulsive and disgusting. Up here we have interchangeable parties, so that rather than a Trump versus a Clinton, we have something more like a Clinton versus a Clinton versus a Clinton; plus another Clinton in exceptional years. (Lest anyone be tempted to make a mistake.) We are told, constantly, to express gratitude for our national cradle-to-grave daycare; and we oblige, with infantile cheering, every “Canada Day.”
Thanks be to God. Who brings the harvest, family and friends. And decorates the winter nights with the light of a trillion trillion stars; and will freeze the ponds for kids to play hockey. Who seems to leave politics entirely to the Devil. We have little left of the cultural memory of Thanksgivings past, once upon a time when people were consciously grateful for such “modest” things — for food on their tables, and knew from whence it came, as also that it came by good fortune. But to the abortuaries of the body, we have added abortuaries of the mind. And now euthanasia: so we may thank the state for death. After thanking it for giving us a choice of many sexes.
Now, death had a history before that. I think of the soil, and so many buried; ashes to ashes, dissolved out of view. Of how they await the Resurrection — our mothers and fathers, our uncles and aunts, generation behind generation.
At least, there are moments when I think of this soil, turning; of the Harvest my contemporaries have ceased to expect. Of the ground that was seeded, from the beginning; that in that spring will burst through our asphalt, with a power that will split any rock, convulsing in choral waves of the Gloria.
Of the dead, burying their dead through the ages; and of the once living, who are living still. Of their graves, with the snow blowing over; of the graveyards, grown over by the thickening woods, in quiet and forgotten places, once filled with children’s laughter. Nothing has been forgotten in God.
I think of the children in the sunlight of time future, as of the children in the sunlight of time past, called from their play by Our Lady. And of stars wheeling in their new courses, as it was in the beginning and will be in the end. Yet even now they wheel, beyond our failing sight.
How incomprehensibly strange is this world; how large, in the passing of trivial events. In thanksgiving for the peace that passeth all understanding, let us whisper deep to deep.