In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind; but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them. -Horace Walpole, novelist and essayist (24 Sep 1717-1797)
It makes sense that my older brother and I engage in a fair amount of mostly good-natured back-and-forth about the issues of the day.
It’s in the blood.
Here’s the overstuffed NYT obituary-page summary about the death of our Great-Grandfather from November 26, 1931.
EX. GOV. ALF TAYLOR OF TENNESSEE DEAD; Famous for “War of Roses” in Which Brother Defeated Him for Governor. DEBATED BEFORE THRONGS Fiddling Bob and Fox-Hunting Alf Avoided Personalities on Stump to Please Mother. Bob Purloined Alf’s Speech. Attended Schools in East. White House Was No Magnet.
During the second-longest inauguration speech in American history, topped only by the same person in 2016, I sent my brother the Shakespeare quote that, for me, best encapsulates this Cheato (sic, y’all):
“…man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assured; his glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.” –Measure for Measure Act 2 Scene 2
A neighbor’s yard sign uses a less lofty vernacular to express a similar idea:
EVERY TIME A CHRISTIAN DEFENDS TRUMP
AN ANGEL LOSES ITS LUNCH
It might provide insight into how different the two of us are that my brother responds to Shakespeare with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. And the case they make is predictable, describing the guy as a “would-be authoritarian” who “doesn’t seem to care if the things he says are true.” After acknowledging his manifold downsides, there’s the inevitable BUT: the candidate for the Democrats has been taken hostage (an interesting way to put it in light of the most recent events in the news) by the radical left, and are likely to enact policies that will turn us into Venezuela in the first hundred days. So we should “rather bear those ills we have than fly to those we know not of” type of thing?
I don’t think so. The last line of Michael Hayden’s statement is plain-talking at its best. And even after suffering a stroke in 2018, he clarifies the stakes of the decision. Walpole (or even Shakespeare) couldn’t have said it better.