The day after Donald Trump was elected president a number of well meaning friends tried to commiserate with me over the election results.
For many months I had already become completely disgusted by the two main choices and ended up writing in a third-party candidate who had no hope in hell to win.
But once it was clear Trump had won I was surprised that my own reaction was so calm, even serene.
I could make a strong political analysis for why he won and even convince a few that he will not be able to execute his agenda with impunity. But this is not the place. There is already a cacophony of voices in media land turning the 2016 presidential election inside and out.
There are several reasons I was not upset.
At the age of 65, I have long realized that most politicians do far less than they promise. Some are sincere and others just say what they think the voters want to hear and then hope those same voters have a limited memory span. In either case they are defeated by the complex reality of running a government and in many cases realize that what got them into office may not sustain them through multiple elections. Stephen Harper realized that bringing a social conservative agenda to Ottawa would have meant perpetual opposition.
The politicians who do act seem to be concerned less with governing but with social engineering. Witness Justin Trudeau on euthanasia and now on a bill that will make it a human rights violation not to use preferred personal pronouns. Not only are these moves offensive to me as a Catholic and as a conservative, but they are also a giant waste of time.
The most important reason for post-election sanity is a greater reliance on God the Holy Trinity and Mary and the Saints.
Since I have been a Catholic I have come to see that the real hope of mankind is not in a politician but the figure of Jesus Christ.
I have reflected on this a lot because I realized that over my years in the Church I have radically changed. It is not a change easy to notice. I still tell stupid jokes, enjoy beer, like a lot of secular culture, I do not pepper my speech with “thee” and “thou” and nor have I stopped sinning — though each time I leave the confessional I vow I will.
Then there are the real heroes, the saints whose teachings are timeless.
I have been thinking about some of these saints I love over the past few days. I have come to a new realization why they are so much more important than a Hilary or a Donald or even a Justin.
St. Teresa of Avila has been one of my spiritual heroes for years. But each time I contemplate her life, I see more clearly that when she walked the earth she was as close to being holy as anyone can on this side of Heaven. Her actions to reform her Carmelite order, her writings on mental prayer, and her absolute doggedness despite myriad critics including the suspicion of the Inquisition, could only be withstood by someone holy.
As for her writings, they are truly timeless. There is no sense, at least to me, that her message was somehow cultivated to a particular culture — in her case 16th Century Spain. What she wrote then, we could still read now and feel she is speaking to us.
The Communion of Saints that we worship with at mass is also a reminder of the timelessness of our spiritual models. No politician can hold a candle to them.
Long after Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and Justin Trudeau are mere footnotes in history the saints will still be there: timeless, filled with love and ready to comfort and guide us to the man on the cross we call Lord.
Charles Lewis is a regular contributor to The Catholic Register and a board member of the Catholic Civil Rights League. He has been writing for 36 years. He was also the religion reporter for the National Post until January 2014.
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Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
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