Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now

    Peggy Noonan has been an inspiration to me. Ms. Noonan was a speechwriter for President Reagan. So, you know she has the ability to communicate. I've always had an appreciation for the way she uses themes in her essays, which are published regularly in the Wall Street Journal.

    More recently, her writing contained something else. A strong supporter of President Bush - she actually took a sabbatical to work for his campaign in 2004 - she became critical of his leadership and administration. Even though I've often said that critique is good, I was still troubled that one of my heros didn't seem to see things "my way."

    I've just finished her latest book and have a new understanding for Peggy. The book was summarized by this quote from page 170: "We need more actual adults who are serious about the business of the nation." Indeed. Her essential point is that, as a nation, we are tired of the politics we have experienced for the last two decades and long now for "leaders who can summon us to greatness and unity."

    If you are a political junkie and wonder why you feel so burned out or cynical as we await the upcoming inauguration, you'll find some solace in this little volume. If you are a little awestruck and anticipate the pagentry, pomp and circumstance of the largest peaceful transfer of power in the world, you'll find this book a great "curl up by the fireplace" read as well.

    The most important thing I gleaned from this book was a greater understanding of Peggy Noonan's perspective. I thought she had jumped ship. Instead, I found she simply ran to the bow to sound a warning to us as we try to navigate our country through some very dangerous waters. I'm grateful that she's still aboard. And, I'm grateful that she taught me something new about seeking first to understand.

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