“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Those were the concluding words of the speech that made Lincoln famous and propelled him to the Republican nomination, delivered on this date in 1860: a reminder that Republican presidential candidates used to be eloquent, serious, admirable, and wise, because the electorate used to insist on it. TR's "bully pulpit" wasn't meant for bullies.
But I'd rather think this morning about Brooklyn, which we saw at Regal Hollywood last night. It's a gorgeous step back into the early '50s, and as powerful a depiction of the fateful and momentous importance of choice as I've seen. Whoever calls it "sentimental drivel" has no heart, and probably hasn't read the Toibin novel it's based on. Saoirse Ronan is wonderful as Eilis, landing alone in Flatbush feeling lost as Crusoe but growing quickly and confidently into her new life.
A question to walk with this morning, thinking some more about Crusoe the castaway's salutary courage, independence, and immersion in the immediacy of his stranded situation: in light of Scheffler's doomsday scenario, would we still expect those salutary qualities to emerge in the utter absence of hope for a possible return to the collective human fold, or for humanity's future? If he were the last man on earth, on his island, would he still care? Or would he, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, have to get back to Memphis?
Does personal immediacy, in its richest form at least, presuppose collective humanity?