It's sometimes hard to tell the truth from the lies, especially when partisans are in constant attack mode. And yet, it's worth the effort, even in these emotional, trying, tiring days. Perhaps this year more than ever, because we see on the campaign trail some genuinely competing worldviews, offering voters a real choice. There are Americans who haven't participated in politics for years now contributing in myriad ways, because they see the values they treasure slipping away. They see their country and their culture devolving, from responsibility to dependency.
And these people know that, as much of a struggle as it is -- being ridiculed and shouted down and taken to elections commissions and even, sometimes, forced into court -- it is worth it.
In an essay on "Democracy and Authority," Jacques Maritain described his fondness for pluralism in democratic life. The 20th-century philosopher wrote: "A just pluralism seems to furnish the most normal remedy for the difficulties inherent in all democracies. We know, indeed, that evil and foolishness are more frequent among men than intelligence and virtue." He went on: "Experience shows that in politics ... persons of education and refinement are no less often mistaken than the ignorant ... In these matters, if the central virtue of the leaders is political prudence -- which is rare and difficult to acquire -- what matters most in the rest are right instincts."
Right instincts are resonating on the campaign trail this year. That's why so many candidates who are not your usual political fare are threatening many an entrenched officeholder with losing their seat. Some of them will win, some will not. But they all recognize that the fight is a good one to wage. Sen. Barbara Boxer should have a hard-fought re-election, and Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York, an embarrassment in office, really could and should lose his re-election bid. Sens. Harry Reid and Linda Murkowski, Rep. Anthony Weiner -- whoever your incumbent with a sense of entitlement is -- would be exposing his or her foolishness by being angry and bitter because they have a battle on their hands. For there is prudence in the American voter, who truly appreciates democracy and his role in it, and that common sense is especially present this year.
As much as I can't wait for the results to be in!