Jun 14, 2022, 05:59AM

Honor in the Time of Cowardice

Knowledge of what the books mean reflects what it means to live in the best of times.

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If the unanswerable question of Job is whywhere is the answer of Steve Jobs, meaning the summation of life—including the meaning of meaning itself—is in the pages of the books we revere. How the pages look, or rather how easy it is to look at the pages on a screen with proportionally spaced fonts, comes from a culture with a love for typesetting and beautiful books. Knowledge of what the books mean reflects what it means to live in the best of times, in an age of wisdom and a season of light. We live in a different era, an age of foolishness, for these are the times that try men’s souls; these are the times in which a tweet before midnight is how a president honors the 78th anniversary of D-Day, while the virtue of honor dies in the twilight of our democracy.

We live in an area—a zone—where nothing runs on time.

We live inside a model train layout of a city, where the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station is the highlight of Wilmington, Delaware, and the low point of our vacation from reality.

The name mars the beauty of the building, just as the names inside the station—the names inside the shops and stores—malign the truth and distort the record.

The names belong to members of the first family, from Dr. Jill Biden, a lightkeeper in name only, whose Where the Light Enters offers no guidance, to Hunter Biden, whose Beautiful Things is a book in need of an editor by an author in need of a medical doctor, to the President’s two campaign books, Promises to Keep and Promise Me, Dad.

Books by Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg complete the collection, with the former laying claim to The Truths We Hold and the latter misstating the Shortest Way Home.

The books are pocket books, quick to yellow and fall apart, decaying in darkness and light, because the pages are frail and the spines feeble. The books are mass-market paperbacks, dry like powder and delicate like dust, whose contents turn to pulp.

But for the sound of train noise, of trains speeding past curtain walls and racing past us, laughter breaks the silence.

The sound is of the Vice President laughing, and of the President yelling Malarkey, as we look to escape.

But for the sea-foam hue on the horizon and the sight of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the towers standing 440 feet tall and the distance spanning 3650 feet, but for the twin spans between the First State and the Garden State, but for the crossing from New Castle, Delaware, to Pennsville, New Jersey, no other means of escape is visible. And yet no escape is possible, because the land of Liberty and Independence is no different than the home of Liberty and Prosperity. The two are as blue as any river or ocean, and as stagnant as any marsh or basin.

Either the blue will drown us in lies, or we will drown out the cries of disinformation with the noise of democracy.

Either the lies will bankrupt us with inflation, or we will beat on, boats rising with the tide—the tide lifting all boats—as we remember the past and avoid the sirens of war and the shoals of folly.

Either the promises of our current president will cause us to meanly lose hope, or we will be true to the promise of our greatest president and nobly save the last best hope of earth.

We alone hold the power of freedom.


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