Great and Holy Friday 2016

  1. David Brooks on on national pain
  2. Peggy Noonan on distressing joy
  3. A question about questions
  4. One out of three ain’t bad
  5. Great and Holy Friday


David Brooks on Friday pulled off one of his paradigm-shifting columns. He’s short on answer, but is asking some very important questions:

This election — not only the Trump phenomenon but the rise of Bernie Sanders, also — has reminded us how much pain there is in this country …

Trump’s success grew out of that pain, but he is not the right response to it. The job for the rest of us is to figure out the right response.

We’ll probably need a new national story. Up until now, America’s story has been some version of the rags-to-riches story, the lone individual who rises from the bottom through pluck and work. But that story isn’t working for people anymore, especially for people who think the system is rigged.

I don’t know what the new national story will be ….

The new national story had better be true, and making it true may require a transformative (I use the term neutrally, not as a eulogism) leader. Or it may come only after something convulsive akin to a civil war. Or it may come from the ground up.

There’s a lot of overlap among people I know of who are already thinking in transformative terms, but no real consensus I can see. Humans are pretty creative and resilient as long as we can avoid top-down dictation.


Candidates at this point, roughly nine months in, are supposed to be dog-tired, near the end of their personal resources, exhausted and, if they’re not winning, depressed. That’s how it usually goes. But Mr. Kasich is clearly having the time of his life and told me as much in November. Mr. Cruz told me the same thing last week, at a Journal editorial board meeting. I expected to see him tired and dragging. No, fresh as a daisy. Mr. Trump too is clearly having a ball.

I find their joy distressing. America is faced with overwhelming problems, the voters are deeply concerned about our future, and they’re happy little chappies in the cable news town hall. I think they’ve absorbed too well the idea of the power of the happy warrior. I would respect them more if now and then they’d outline our problems and look blue.

(Peggy Noonan)


Let’s stipulate that if “Donald Trump” is the right answer, it’s the wrong political question.

So is there a right political question to which “Donald Trump” is the least wrong major party answer?


Robert L. Dear Jr. thought “the feds” had been after him for 20 years, cutting holes in his clothes and planting a listening device in his pickup truck. He believed President Obama was the Antichrist, and that the Planned Parenthood center he admitted firing on in November was the most evil place in the world.

Proof that even a madman can be right a third of the time.


For some reason, I’ve been able to blog through this Lent and remain on social media with minimal spiritual damage. Sorry to my Facebook friends I’ve discreetly blocked, though.

Perspective helps.

Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who did hang the land in the midst of the waters.
A Crown of thorns crowns Him Who is King of Angels.
He is wrapped about with the purple of mockery Who wrapped the Heavens with clouds.
He received buffetings Who freed Adam in Jordan.
He was transfixed with nails Who is the Bridegroom of the Church.
He was pierced with a spear Who is the Son of the Virgin.
We worship Thy Passion, O Christ. Show also unto us thy glorious Resurrection.

If you want to hear this hymn gloriously sung in Arabic-tinged Byzantine Chant (yes, there are Arabic Christians; we were first called Christians in Antioch, after all), click here.

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.