03 January 2008

C.S. Lewis on the Iowa Caucus

[Of course we don’t want to get all political on this blog; we’ve got enough issues without going there. But since my phone is ringing umpteen times a day with campaign calls, I’m going to make you suffer a bit too.]

Cut to scene fragment from That Hideous Strength, where Mark Studdock tries noncommittally to express his disagreement with another character’s view:

“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.
[The other replies]: “Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one. But it’s no affair of mine. Good night.”

It’s not like I’m always totally thrilled with the candidate I end up voting for. But it seems I’m not alone in thinking that the problem is worse than usual this year. There are surely more than a dozen views about which candidate is the best one, a situation exacerbated by the fact that some of the candidates themselves seem to have “a dozen views about everything,” whether simultaneously or over the course of their career. Makes it rather more difficult to know what “the answer” is. I miss being able to have a smug superior attitude about how "my" candidate is obviously far superior and you're just stupid if you don't agree with me (ok, so maybe that's never really worked so well in the past anyway...)

Even if one is willing to sacrifice calculations of electability and go strictly on conscience/issues, what’s a (semi) crunchy con to do? There are some obvious no-nos, but a lot of unanswered questions too. Oh, to be able to say, “But it’s no affair of mine. Good night.”

Well, I think I’ll send my husband off a-caucusing tonight to cast the family vote, and we’ll muddle through the best we can. And be grateful that the worthless phone traffic should slow down dramatically after tonight.

Meanwhile, I just shake my head at the mastery of Lewis’ biting insight in this tiny snippet alone. There’s nothing throwaway in Lewis’ writing, even the fiction—yet neither is it annoyingly moralistic. He’s a master of the craft. We need a Lewis for this generation! (Anyone have any nominations? Gotta be a more hopeful situation than the presidential nominations, at least.)


Rebekah said...

One of my favorite Lewis-isms is that Christian writing should be the business of writers who happen to be Christian, not Christians who want to be writers. The man is living proof.

We're jealous of the caucuses. They sound like fun--babysitter-worthy, even! :) We're counting on you people to tell us what to do in our primary, so help us out.

Pr. H. R. said...

Go Uncle Fred!

Make Dad watch this before he heads out in the cold tonight:


Reb. Mary said...

Yeah, unfortunately we didn't quite get our act together on the babysitter front, but we're at least doing half our duty for our country. (Come to think of it, we only seem to get our act together on the babysitting front if relatives are visiting and volunteer for kid duty. Hmmm. Too bad there weren't any around tonight.)

And HRC, I think we'll be hoping for a good boost for ol' FT tonight too :)