Choose something like a star

Paul Mirengoff provides wise advice to conservatives in “Worry, but be happy: Coping with an Obama presidency.” Paul’s advice is especially helpful in maintaining political perspective and mental health. I wish I would have had access to it during the years of the Clinton administration, which look like a golden age compared to the prospect now before us. (Have I already fallen off the wagon?) I would add one piece of advice to Paul’s list.

*Return to the texts of the founding documents of the United States — the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance — and to their exposition in the Federalist Papers, the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and elsewhere. Let us vow to renew our understanding of them and to teach them to our kids.

Keep in mind the admonition of Calvin Coolidge in his great speech celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration:

We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

Robert Frost urged us to “choose something like a star” to stay our minds on and be staid. For conservatives, that star is the principles on which the United States was founded.

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