What J.R.R. Tolkien can teach us about life after Trump

first_imgThe sooner we begin, the sooner we may say along with Sam’s old Gaffer, “All’s well that ends better!”   McConnell may be right—indeed, he may continue to do damage even as we work to correct it—but we must undertake it just the same. And Tolkien provides us with insight into the way that work must be accomplished: with determination, but also with compassion. Frodo, as leader of the free hobbits, forbids violence against his fellow hobbits “even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean, not just obeying … because they are frightened.” He cautions that “it is useless to meet revenge with revenge: It will heal nothing.” Compare this to Joe Biden: “We must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.”  Like Trump’s MAGA minions, Saruman’s thugs—hobbit, half orc, and human alike—demand respect but deserve none. What they do deserve, Frodo knows, is the chance to change—with consequences if they choose not to. “Do not kill him even now,” he instructs Sam after the disgraced Wizard has just attempted to stab him with a dagger.  “He was great once, of a noble kind … He is fallen and his cure is beyond us, but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.” But Saruman’s pride, like Trump’s, prevents conversion. “All my hopes are ruined,” he tells Galadriel in an earlier chapter, “but I would not share yours.” And Frodo has no compunctions about driving him and his henchmen out of town—as we must have none about driving out the recalcitrant Trump and his goons if they refuse to go in peace.  When first apprised of Sauron’s fall and the success of the Quest, Sam wonders, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” In “The Scouring of the Shire,” Tolkien has Sam provide his own answer: “I shan’t call it the end,” he says, “till we’ve cleared up the mess. And that’ll take a lot of time and work.” That work is now our work. To quote Joe Biden, “The work of making this vision real is the task of our time.”  – Advertisement – Nor have we rid ourselves of the scourge of Trumpism. On the contrary, Trumpists still occupy the top positions in government and have not acceded to the lawful transfer of power. High-level elected officials remain complicit. Trump loyalists have been installed in our judiciary and our career civil service. Armed militias threaten violence. And millions of our fellow citizens have thrown their lot in with the corrupt and immoral Trump regime.  Tolkien understood that the aftermath of evil is not sudden good, but rather a long, hard, unglamorous slog towards normalcy and decency. And he understood that even this menial work would face resistance from the spiteful vanquished. “I have already done much that you will find it hard to mend or undo,” smirks Sharkey/Saruman to Frodo upon realizing he is defeated. Compare this to Mitch McConnell upon the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court: “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”    – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Fresh off bye, skillful Badgers begin WCHA play

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald PhotoGoaltenders practicing sumo wrestling moves, multi-million dollar insurance policies flicking pucks at each other and the No. 3 draft pick playing the head coach one-on-one during practice are signs that the UW men’s hockey team has exhausted its time off. “These days have dragged by here so it’s time to put on the skates and play against somebody else,” head coach Mike Eaves said. While beneficial in building team chemistry and gaining experience through repetition, receiving an early schedule bye last weekend has been unbearable to say the least.Finally, the team gets to play again. No. 10 Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0 WCHA) will open up conference play against No. 13 Michigan Tech (4-2, 3-1 WCHA) this weekend at the Kohl Center. “Our focus becomes having a great start,” Eaves said. “And hopefully the time that we’ve had, we’ve worked on some repetitions and the way we want to play, and we’ve competed hard in practice and going against a team like Michigan Tech that’s its strength, they play hard and we hope to go from there.” From the opening face-off, forward Kyle Turris and the rest of the freshmen class are going to find out what the WCHA season is all about.“We haven’t played a WCHA game yet so we’re chomping at the bit to get going to see what it’s like,” Turris said. “I hear it’s quite a bit different from what we have been playing, so we’re pretty excited, and everybody’s working hard to not let each other down.”Michigan Tech has already played two series within the WCHA, against Minnesota State and North Dakota, winning three of four times. Even so, UW goaltender Shane Connelly doesn’t believe the Huskies’ conference experience should come into play — unless Wisconsin lets it by getting off to a sluggish start.“It could give them the advantage if we let them by not coming out and playing sharp from the start,” Connelly said. “But we’re fresh, they might be banged up.” As loose as Connelly, first-round picks Turris, Ryan McDonagh and Brendan Smith and the rest of the Badgers keep practice, wrestling each other and joking around, they understand that conference play is hostile. “It’s going to be a war, there’s going to be a lot of hitting,” Connelly said. “From our end, they roughed us up a little bit last year when we went up to Houghton, Mich., and we got a chance to beat them in the Final Five so there’s not too much liking between these two teams.“It’s two big games, and we need these points to start off right.”On the same account, the rabid Huskies are accustomed to a smaller-sized rink — the Kohl Center ice is NHL sized — and the skill-laden Badgers should be able to use the open space to their advantage in not only avoiding hits but also scoring goals. “The larger ice allows us to use our skill sets more so we might be able to create some more in the open space and capitalize on the power play,” Turris said. Wisconsin had no problem scoring with the man advantage two weeks ago against Robert Morris. It capitalized on eight of 17 opportunities. Despite starting strong by scoring 22 goals in four games, Wisconsin had much to improve upon. “For our young team, I think it was a good thing [having the bye],” Eaves said. “Being so young, practice gave us a chance to get reps in the areas that we wanted to so that when we come out we’re more automatic in the way we want to play. “If we become a slave to our good habits, then chances are we’ll play well.”Turris, who leads the nation in points with 12 despite playing two less games, found himself playing one-on-one with UW’s all-time points leader, coach Eaves, at center ice toward the end of Thursday’s practice. The reason: The center wants to improve his defense. “I think from my standpoint, I’m showing him that — even though I’m an old guy — if he does the right things, he can contain to some degree a highly offensive player so that when he is in that situation he understands the technique that we talked about,” Eaves said. The Badgers are putting in the extra work, and now it’s time to get back out on the ice and play.last_img read more