This Thanksgiving Felt Different

We need to carry on, keep our chins up, and all that. In spite of – because  of – the devastation of our culture and the decomposition of our Republic, we must, as I said in America Needs a Renaissance, be brave. In that spirit, I entered Thanksgiving week determined to count my own — and our collective — American blessings, and to give thanks.

I must confess, though, that my feelings overrode my intentions. I found myself less thankful than usual, preoccupied with our country’s fall from grace, indignant that we would willingly surrender our noble experiment in self-government, overwhelmed by ceaseless, intemperate change, and very, very worried. A William Wordsworth poem  popped into my mind,  expressing  how I felt:

The world is too much with us; late and soon.

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

Little we see in nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers.

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Next week – I guess that starts tomorrow – I’ll “crack a smile,” as my beloved British grandmother used to instruct me. I have one more day to fret and stew.

  1. Nick Stuart

    My immediate, free association thought is that on 11/7 what we heard was not a blast from Triton’s horn, but a chord from Orpheus’ lyre.

    But let us not go gentle into that dark night, but rage against the dying of the American dream (apologies to Dylan Thomas).

  2. Bereket Kelile

    Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. – Psalm 146

  3. David Williamson

    I feel the same way, Anne – perhaps made worse by the fact that I am an immigrant from the land of Wordsworth, which  is now a Socialist basket-case, even with a “Conservative” government.

    America, indeed, has been fundamentally transformed – not so much by Mr Obama himself, as by the electorate.

    Anyway, this week I am in Spain  - another Socialist basket-case that Mr Obama wishes to emulate!

  4. Trink

    I have a friend who is similarly affected by the election.  She wrote that ‘we really have our work  cut out for us’.  I responded:

    My work is to maintain a broad historical perspective.   My work is to form associations with like-minded people . . not because I think we can affect the culture, but for succor . . . and . .  on good days,  happy sharings of the good things that still surround us.  A spin through a Manet exhibit . . . a walk through an autumn woods . . . a pup to scratch behind the ears . . .conversation over a bottle of fine wine . .  a crescent moon around which orbits an instrument with which my kid teases snippets of knowledge from the universe. Knowledge, learning, happy associations, helping others at an individual level . .  these have to be enough. As for actively pursuing positive effects . . I’ve added Hillsdale to my ‘worthy charity’ list.

  5. Western Chauvinist

    Also from Wordsworth: All that we behold is full of blessings.

    You want to know one of the (admittedly odd) reasons I’m hopeful? Because I was one of those eager to get on Doc Optimist’s (Paul Rahe’s) bus. I believed, with most of my heart and at least half of my brain (apparently tied (helplessly) behind my back), that Mitt Romney would win this election. That he didn’t is proof of my complete inability to predict the future. I should have seen it coming? Yeah, well, I didn’t.

    I also thought the EU would have folded by now and have no earthly idea why it staggers on. I thought Israel would have to engage Iran prior to Obama’s first inauguration. See? I stunk up the place with that prediction as well. Can America stagger on under the European social democratic model, and satisfy its debtors with copious amounts of freshly printed funny-money? Who the hell knows?

    Precisely nothing in the world changed on November 6. The world is still passing away as it was the moment after the forbidden fruit was eaten. Christ’s victory is still won. No change.

  6. Southern Pessimist

    Pick your battles, Anne, pick your battles. The war is not within your grasp.

  7. Anne R. Pierce
    C
    Southern Pessimist: Pick your battles, Anne, pick your battles. The war is not within your grasp. · 5 minutes ago

    Please explain.

  8. BrentB67

    I have found myself much less thankful this year. You are not alone.

  9. Southern Pessimist
    Anne R. Pierce

    Southern Pessimist: Pick your battles, Anne, pick your battles. The war is not within your grasp. · 5 minutes ago

    Please explain. · 1 minute ago

    If you have to explain a joke or what you thought was a profound comment on Ricochet, it probably wasn’t a very good joke or comment.

    I like to make make outrageous, over the top statements, that sound good to me. Talking like a warrior is silly within any context outside of real war.

    Because I feel like the war is already lost, I choose to pick a few battles I might win.

  10. Anne R. Pierce
    C
    Southern Pessimist

    Anne R. Pierce

    Southern Pessimist: Pick your battles, Anne, pick your battles. The war is not within your grasp. · 5 minutes ago

    Please explain. · 1 minute ago

    If you have to explain a joke or what you thought was a profound comment on Ricochet, it probably wasn’t a very good joke or comment.

    I like to make make outrageous, over the top statements, that sound good to me. Talking like a warrior is silly within any context outside of real war.

    Because I feel like the war is already lost, I choose to pick a few battles I might win. · 2 minutes ago

    Na – It was a good comment and advice I should take!

  11. Maggie

    I, too, have felt greatly discouraged. I live surrounded by progressives. Most of my girlfriends are very liberal. So while there was much rejoicing in my neighborhood, and on my facebook page the night of the election, I only felt despair. 

    I emailed my husband,  who is in the military and is elsewhere, and said the ignorance of my liberal friends for what their policies will result in is astounding. I told him the only viable way to change things is through Classical Education. Of course, this is my opinion, education is the key to changing our culture, classical education specifically. My husband points out that the Left holds an iron grip on education. Why is that? Of course we know.

    I was inspired and encouraged when reading the post about America Needs a Renaissance.  I often feel powerless, a small island, surrounded by a sea of progressives. I am determined to do something …not just to resist by keeping my children out of the system. I want to provide an alternative that will restore traditional values and raise the bar for learning. So, I contacted Hillsdale and am at the beginning stages of forming a Classical Education Charter school. 

  12. Anne R. Pierce
    C
    Chelly Bouferrache: I, too, have felt greatly discouraged. I live surrounded by progressives. Most of my girlfriends are very liberal. So while there was much rejoicing in my neighborhood, and on my facebook page the night of the election, I only felt despair. ….

    My husband points out that the Left holds an iron grip on education. ….

    I was inspired and encouraged when reading the post about America Needs a Renaissance.  I often feel powerless, a small island, surrounded by a sea of progressives. I am determined to do something …not just to resist by keeping my children out of the system. I want to provide an alternative that will restore traditional values and raise the bar for learning. So, I contacted Hillsdale and am at the beginning stages of forming a Classical Education Charter school.  · 0 minutes ago

    This is so great, and I love the name: Classical Education Charter School.  It will appeal to parents who see that this is precisely what their children’s schools do not provide: a classical education. With Ricochetti reading about this, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were many Classical Education Charter Schools within a few years.

  13. Maggie

    Maybe others will follow suit. Anyone on Ricochet thinking about Classical Education Charter schools as a way to fight back or take a stand? Let me know if you are out there…

  14. FirstAmendment
    Chelly Bouferrache: …

    I was inspired and encouraged when reading the post about America Needs a Renaissance.  I often feel powerless, a small island, surrounded by a sea of progressives. I am determined to do something …not just to resist by keeping my children out of the system. I want to provide an alternative that will restore traditional values and raise the bar for learning. So, I contacted Hillsdale and am at the beginning stages of forming a Classical Education Charter school.  · 21 minutes ago

    I, too, have been discouraged, but this is encouraging!

  15. DocJay

    Southern Pessimist, I thought you were quite reserved in general ;)

  16. Trink
    ~Paules:  Perhaps I’m the only one that finds the situation liberating, but I’ve found a new sense of purpose.  For this I am grateful.  · 1 hour ago

    Yes.  I understand your sense of this.  For me, as a 65 year-old, the  ‘liberation’ of knowing where we are as a culture will manifest itself not so much in any form of activism, but in practicing gratitude for what has been good in my life, continues to be . . and . .  preparing for inevitable endings.

    But how very true is your statement: ” . . . life has become suddenly sharper and more savory now that we can no longer take things for granted.”  

  17. Fake John Galt

    My thankfulness was melancholy this year. I am thankful that God did not bless me with children. I am not sure my heart could take knowing the mess I will be leaving them and the road that they must travel because of the short sightness of the mob and my lack to change the course of the country. For those of you with children you have my sympathies.

  18. Diaryof1
    Chelly Bouferrache: Maybe others will follow suit. Anyone on Ricochet thinking about Classical Education Charter schools as a way to fight back or take a stand? Let me know if you are out there… · 41 minutes ago

    Chelly, I really wished we lived in the same town…but we ARE pretty close. It’s very (very!) hard work, I know–I tried something similar several years ago, and while it was a private Classical style school that I started, not a charter, I now know the ropes a bit. And I failed a lot (and swore I’d never try this again), but that’s a part of the learning process sometimes. I learned that you need a stellar team that shares the same vision, good funding, a wide network, the right location, a proven model, etc., etc.  Let’s talk. 

  19. Anne R. Pierce
    C
    Trink

    ~Paules:  Perhaps I’m the only one that finds the situation liberating, but I’ve found a new sense of purpose.  For this I am grateful.  · 1 hour ago

    Yes.  I understand your sense of this.  For me, as a 65 year-old, the  ‘liberation’ of knowing where we are as a culture will manifest itself not so much in any form of activism, but in practicing gratitude for what has been good in my life, continues to be . . and . .  preparing for inevitable endings.

    But how very true is your statement: ” . . . life has become suddenly sharper and more savory now that we can no longer take things for granted.”   · 19 minutes ago

    Trink,

    Agree that this statement by Paules hits the mark and was inspired by your comment (#4) as well.

  20. maureen dirienzo

    My only hope now is to convince my son and daughter in law that it is their turn to take up the fight. They must work on their young friends. The resistance must come from the young.

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