King Theoden: “What can men do against such reckless hate?” Aragorn: “Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Sam: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
“The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” – Plato
That’s a lot of quotes I know, and nerdy ones at that. However, every one of them rings true in our time.
Yesterday was Super Tuesday and Donald Trump won the majority of the states for the Republicans. I found it hard to believe, all the while knowing it was going to happen. Something in the pit of my stomach knew it was going to go this way.
Ever notice how all good stories have that moment of absolute despair?
In the best stories, such as The Lord of the Rings, there is a moment of absolute hopelessness when all seems to be lost. When it actually becomes hard to read further because you can’t imagine how it could get any better.
This may be that very time in our country’s history. The darkest hour when all seems lost. Unfortunately, the old adage “it’ll get worse before it gets better” may also be true. Just like the rotten feeling in my gut that made me think Donald Trump would win Super Tuesday, something in me wouldn’t be surprised to see him go all the way. I’ve seen the angry mobs that cheer at his rallies. The man can literally say anything and not be held accountable to it. He is the king narcissist in a society that has been grooming him for just such an occasion.
Ever think about where social media and reality TV have been leading us? Making celebrities of people who have no business being celebrities. Giving room for anyone to think they should be known, or that they should be the next big thing… or maybe the next president of the United States.
I should note that the irony is not lost on me that I am writing this on my presidential Facebook page. The main difference being that I am willing to acknowledge that I know literally nothing about leading a country. I’m just waiting for a good man to step up to the plate, and if no good men will step up then put me in the game coach.
Which brings me to the question, “What can men do against such reckless hate?”
“Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.”
If all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, then I want to do something.
I’ve been thinking all day about what is the role of good men in times like this. It’s to step up and do something yes, but what is the something? How does a nobody from the village of Saranac, Michigan go about doing anything that makes a difference?
It’s strange to have started this Facebook page. I feel deluded and desperate at the same time. “I can’t believe that no one better is stepping up. Maybe I could be the one.” It sounds absolutely nuts I realize. But what if it’s not necessarily the presidency that I’m stepping up to? What if it’s just a timid voice that decides to speak in the middle of a crowd that’s been scared into sitting silently?
Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe it’s you too. It’s stirring in the hearts of many right now. I’ve had a few conversations with others already who are trying to find the answers to the same questions. If it’s stirring in your heart then join us. We’ll figure this out together.
My heart tells me that love is the answer. In that moment of utter despair in all the good stories, love is what turns it around. Not anger, fear, or hatred.
Love, courage, faith, hope. These make good stories. Along with them comes sacrifice. This is not easy. In all the good stories, the good guys may win, but it comes at great costs and sacrifices. There will be no easily won victories.
It may seem dramatic, but think about the times we live in. These days will be talked about for a long time to come. How America responds to Donald Trump will be mourned or celebrated for generations to come I think. We will either regret our ignorance and inability to listen to our hearts, or we will celebrate the day we stepped up to reject hatred, anger, and fear. We will learn to be courageous, or we will wallow in our cowardice.
We will unite, or we will fall.
Is this epic sounding enough yet? I want to be part of good stories. I want my life to be a good story. When I die I want my children to know that I loved them deeply, I want my wife to know that she was the only one for me, and I want the world to know that I cared. I want to have contributed something to the unfolding of history that points people to something bigger.
We are not alone.
We are all equal.
We are all loved.
We are all cherished.
Jesus Christ on the cross. The Hope of humanity nailed to a Roman crucifix, bleeding out and breathing his last. He doesn’t call down power from Heaven. He lets death take him. All hope is lost. His followers go into hiding, afraid for their own lives, struggling to believe that their friend who was called the Savior of the world was now dead.
Until he wasn’t.
He gave Himself up for the love of us all. It wasn’t easy. It was hard, and it was terrifying. But He was part of the best story. The sun rose on the third day at the same time he did.
Guess what…? He’s calling us to the same thing. Let’s be part of better stories.
Disclaimer: I am no expert in politics. I am a simple man who sees the field of candidates available to us and finds it lacking. I can not in good conscience vote for any of these people, or at least the people who look to be the ones getting the nominations from their respective parties. I fully accept that I may not have details or a general understanding of how some systems work. Please extend me some grace as most of this is just me processing my own thoughts and coming to more concrete opinions and beliefs on the many topics that face us today.
Vote for Rick Hopkins For President.