The center is not holding

In many ways, this is the most insidious form of partisanship. It breeds constant moral indignation. “How dare you say that I don’t care. I do care, but the real issue is …” The partisan is indignant at the claim of indifference and then indignant again at the allegedly misplaced outrage from the other side.

Who is left to balance the competing claims? Who is left to truly, actually care about all the relevant injustice and pain? Who is left to hold the center? I found this tweet, from my friend Daniel Darling, a senior vice president for the National Religious Broadcasters, to be particularly poignant. This is the voice that’s missing in the commanding heights of American politics and culture…

I know that I go back again and again to the importance of character in leaders. But character holds the center. The irony of the first stanza of Yeats’s poem is that if a man or woman lacks all conviction, he cannot be “the best.” Time and again we’ve seen good people crumble before the bully. We find that “the best” do indeed lack conviction. They are not who we thought they were.