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Katie van Schaijik

On not wanting reality

Dec. 17, 2009, at 11:09am

Jennifer Rubin, over at Commentary Magazine’s blog, Contentions, is one of my favorite political commentators. Today she says this about President Obama’s slide in the opinion polls.

Because so many conservatives never bought into candidate Obama’s image as a ”centrist, deficit-fighting, bipartisan consensus builder,” it’s hard for many to appreciate fully just how fervently many voters did embrace that portrait of Obama. He was the candidate who didn’t raise his voice and promised an alternative to the Bush-Clinton-Bush partisan wars. Calm and cool, above the fray. He was going to go line by line through the budget. No taxes on anyone not “rich.” He believed in ”markets,” he told CNBC. Voters grabbed on to these messages and averted their eyes from data that didn’t fit the campaign-approved image of a reasoned centrist.

What interests me here is that last line, which deftly expresses a key feature of the problem of the human condition as we find it today. We avert our eyes from data that does not fit the image our campaign of self-promotion has approved to our own minds.

Truth hurts, so we avoid it. We reject and condemn those who may try to bring it to our attention. And so we render ourselves unreal—incapable of efficacy in the world, incapable of communion with others.

And if we cannot bear human reality, how much less prepared are we to bear the Reality of God?

As Christmas approaches, let us each and all seek more of the truth. Let us have the courage to invite it into our hearts and homes, so that we can be liberated from the illusions and insubstantialities that plague our poor souls.


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