One lesson we could all stand to learn is the lesson that King Tirian teaches Eustace in the final scenes of Narnia’s “The Last Battle”. Eustace spits out a thoughtless and passionate volley of words at some despicable characters; Tirian wisely admonishes Eustace that “No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language.”
One thing we must keep at the fore of our minds during this divisive political season is the temptation towards pettiness. After the debate the other night Trump’s sniffles and Clinton’s nose scratches both came under scrutiny and click-bait websites perpetuated the rumors behind each of these atrocities. The tendency is to forsake reason and aim for feeling as a means of persuasion. Feelings are more easily swayed than thinking. Thus, by endeavoring to scrape the bottom of the barrel for reasons to dislike a candidate and convince others to dislike them, you are actually perpetuating a culture of Eustace-like “scolding” rather than noble minded discourse.
Often times, we feel very deeply about our preferred candidate and as we ride the roller coaster ride of the polls we want to push our candidate over the top, and obliterate the other side. Scolding, though, doesn’t work. If we are to establish an honorable society, it must be done by reason and feelings being put in their proper place.
Leave the low-blows to click-bait and tabloids.
Hard knocks should only be given intentionally, not because of frenzied feeling caused by tightening polls and a nearing election day. Suffice it to say that Clinton’s support for using tax dollars to fund an organization that dissects unborn babies’ body parts is sufficient evidence for her unsuitability for leadership of a free nation.
Trump’s unwillingness to admit his need for forgiveness, his lack of an undergirding source of principle (i.e. the Lordship of Christ) and thus his maddening pragmatism of the worst sort is reason enough to disqualify him from leading a free nation (and Christian conservatives at that).
We have no need of cheap shots when the reality of each candidate is far more gruesome and appalling. Courteous words towards our opponents, or else sharp words of rebuke are the only language which should be employed in such discussions. There is plenty afoul in each candidate’s platform, and each have a whole array of positions and records which deserve to receive hard knocks of rebuke and winsome mockery. However, we must remember that the debate is between people, not brutes, and thus we must treat them as made in the image of God.
This is not an encouragement towards cowardice, but towards courage. Words from a friend can be trusted after all, but fools are too lazy to follow an adult argument. Courtesy to the person, hard knocks for their record and position, and leave off anything resembling scolding.