From the Editor

John Turner

My mind has tried to escape from pure politics for a few days, and though it hasn't been perfectly successful, it's a practice I still recommend.

For a variety of reasons, religion has invaded my thoughts again. Over the past couple weeks I read 1st Samuel of the Old Testament. I've read it numerous times before but never has it struck me so strongly as the mishmash it is. And if anybody can take the bloodthirsty tribal deity of its chapters as the universal god of love, he has a more twisted imagination than even I do.

Every now and then I find myself wanting to seek out people who regard the Bible as a moral unity and ask them how they can read it that way. But, then, I realize conversation of that sort never seems to make headway.

The president will tell us tomorrow about the state of the nation. I've lost the ability to believe anything this president says, so I probably won't watch him. I know that's a dereliction of duty, but still there are people who are so agonizing to look at I find myself running away despite my sense that I'm being a coward. And Mr. Bush is one of those people. He's such a combination of attributes that give me the creeps I find myself driven to take him at second hand. At least that's the way I feel right now. If I managed to have a stiffening of spine over the next twenty-eight hours, I'll let you know next week. And if I don't, I hope you'll forgive me.

Tonight we have the fifth hour of this season's 24. Jack Bauer seems fated to have ever more disastrous things happen in front of his eyes. Now we have the detonation of a suitcase nuclear bomb. But one thing we can be sure of: Jack will find a way to thwart the worse ambitions of the malefactors. It's fun to play with material of this sort in our imagination, but it would be terrible if anyone took it very seriously. And, I'm afraid there are some in Washington who do.

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Harvard Square Commentary, January 22, 2007