There Is Always Hope
“Poland is VERY pretty at night, and the Polish people are nice too. Now I know why both Hitler and Stalin invaded #Poland in WWII.”
I confess, reading that parody of a Donald Trump tweet on Twitter before I’d had coffee, I believed for a moment it was actually written by our president.
In truth, President Trump did speak in Warsaw about an hour after I proved myself gullible, and indicated an understanding and appreciation of the best of the Polish people. During his speech, he talked about Pope John Paul II’s return there and how the people in Victory Square that day in 1979 interrupted him to demonstrate their great desire to defiantly say the name of God in a place where religion had been illegal for so long.
I completely understand anyone being skeptical about what President Trump means and the depth of his commitment to some of his words and even his actions. But I also see something quite amazing happening in the United States today. At a time of ever-decreasing attention spans and the seemingly insatiable desire to be entertained, the president has managed to keep people’s attention.
Yes, there’s the anger and even fear on display, from post-election protests in the streets to the incivility of social media. But I wonder if there has ever been a time in American history when so many people have been aware of the name of the newest Supreme Court justice (and one whose name is a challenge to spell, at that). For every Washington Post “Democracy dies in darkness” claim, it can be said that there is a light like never before shining on our politics, and goodness knows, on nearly every move the president and his staff make.
And this scrutiny comes following a time when there were a lot of euphemisms and ideological prescriptions in our political discourse that haven’t always been debated out in the open.
Take the case of Charlie Gard, the infant dying of a rare mitochondrial disease. I don’t know what President Trump or anyone else thinks in his heart of hearts. But I do know that the president took a break from tweeting about Mika and Joe, among other things, to say a word about this precious child in England and his parents who are trying their best to help him live without prolonging his suffering. Trump’s tweet stood against a British court ruling and a hospital that sees no hope for the child and and wants him taken off life support, rather than receive experimental treatment in America.
That stands in contrast to Calvary hospital in New York, which cares exclusively for terminal cases. As Dr. Michael Brescia, the hospital’s co-founder and medical director, recently put it: “At Calvary, we have never, ever, in any way, hastened death purposely. We’ll argue, ‘We love you enough to never kill.’ We come across a symptom that is unacceptable, and we treat the symptom until there is relief. Our doctrine is succor, compassion, love, gentleness. I’m never going to tell someone they have to suffer. I will work to alleviate their pain.”
About this time last year, I walked the brutal expanse of Auschwitz. You think of the people who entered knowing they would never see anywhere else on this Earth. You think of the inhumanity that takes over men’s hearts and souls, allowing such evil to happen. I certainly thought of John Paul on his return to his homeland. Not everything that is happening these days is good — but then that could be said on any day — but as long as the light shines and we are engaged, we will not succumb to drowning in the darkness of death, but will rejoice in the hope for which we are made. A hope that lives today as much as ever in human history. We know too much to believe otherwise.
COPYRIGHT 2017 United Feature Syndicate