Peggy Noonan as biblical theologian

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My husband passes along everything from The Wall Street Journal that he thinks I need to see. This usually includes Peggy Noonan’s column. This week’s column begins with an evocation of the old-time voting booths that almost made me weep. New York State was one of the last to get rid of the wonderful booths, with curtains, total privacy, and the small levers that made deeply satisfying clicks as you went down the list, and then the big lever that gave off a really big “ka-chunk” as you rather majestically finished off your civic duty and stepped out. I voted that way for at least 30 years, and was quite upset to see the new method which does not even offer real privacy, let alone ceremonial gravitas.

But what really got me was the ending of her piece. I had no idea that Peggy could pull off something like this. It is almost Lincolnesque (though without the rhetorical grandeur, to be sure). She is describing the awful choice we face this Tuesday, and the political sickness that brought us here. She refers to the old, tarnished networks as “webs.” Most of all she understands God as the active agent in history, a point that the preachers of today need to relearn.

Here is her conclusion:

Both parties have their webs. Maybe this year begins the process by which they will be burned away [sounds just like Malachi 3:2-3!]. 
A closing thought: God is in charge of history. He asks us to work, to try, to pour ourselves out to make things better. But he is an actor in history also. He chastises and rescues, he intervenes in ways seen and unseen. Or chooses not to. [See Lincoln’s Second Inaugural] 
2016 looks to me like a chastisement. He’s trying to get our attention. We have candidates we can’t be proud of. We must choose among the embarrassments. What might we be doing as a nation and as a people that would have earned this moment? [see the prayer of Daniel in Daniel 9:3-19, especially 16-19]

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