Op-Ed: Anti ain't enough
Ralph K. Ginorio
| December 31, 2021 1:00 AM
“It isn't enough to stand up and fight darkness. You've got to stand apart from it, too. You've got to be different from it.” — Jim Butcher, “The Dresden Files”
Passion is often reactive. It can be sparked by something that we encounter which makes both an emotional and an intellectual impression. This is why it is so often negative: Outrage is a common gateway drug to passion.
I try to be a crusader. I teach, speak and write because I want to serve my conscience through consequential action. Flawed and fallible I certainly am; yet I take joy in stepping into the arena to champion what I believe.
I am not alone. Good people of all points of view willingly step daily out from safe obscurity into conflict to serve their causes. One of the very best aspects of our republic is that so many of us make fighting to save America’s soul our personal business.
We advocates of right, left, center and “none-of-the-above” are excellent barometers for detecting what is going wrong in our society. We notice subtleties that only active combatants perceive. While others see us as reacting to phantoms, we know that our effectiveness depends upon honed perceptions.
This means that people like myself, who elect to fight the proverbial good fight, are quick to sound the alarm against threats to our ideals. We instinctively counterpunch against what we deem dangerous.
In our own ways, each of us is ever on watch against the darkness.
But, as the axiom says, the abyss gazes back. Those who are too consumed by the fight against monsters can become monstrous.
How many Conservative Christians betray the mercy of this faith in their zeal to purge sin? How many progressive enemies of racism see nothing but the race of those around them? How many advocates of freedom eagerly censor or cancel those with whom they disagree?
As we approach an anno domini MMXXII (2022), which seems more fraught with menace than any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we must remember that it is not sufficient to fight evil.
We must aspire, at all times, to be our best selves. While our opponents cleverly lie, we must deal only in truth. Where pride would have us affect a mask of flawless rectitude, we must humbly recognize our very real feet of clay. When we are most tempted to cut corners and cheat, we must be scrupulously honest.
As those with whom we contend employ subtle stratagems of manipulation, we must rely on the intrinsic value of our ideas. We must trust the common sense of our fellow citizens. We must believe in freedom.
Our vanity will tell us that we must win now at all costs or all will be lost. We must respond by doing our very best and then trusting in providence for the result.
Victory is nothing without integrity.
We must genuinely aspire to be worthy stewards of our noblest ideals. Above all, we must love what is good more than we hate what is evil.
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In Maine and then Idaho, Ralph K. Ginorio has taught the history of Western Civilization to high school students for nearly a quarter century. He is an “out-of-the-closet” Conservative educator with experience in special education, public schools and charter schools, grades 6-12. He has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 2014. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org