The Deep Breath Before the Plunge

I’m writing this newsletter in the middle of what we call the “dog days” of summer. It’s the moment in the calendar where—everywhere but Twitter—things seem to slow down. Families are on vacation. Americans are focused on a uniquely perilous and stressful school year. Web traffic tends to dip. Podcasts audiences slack off a bit. But then, soon enough, will come the rush. We are on the verge of one of the most intense political seasons in living memory, one that will strain our nation’s “bonds of affection.”

I’m reminded of a memorable scene in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s Return of the King. Pippin stands at the ramparts of Minas Tirith and stares at the coming storm. “It’s so quiet,” he says. Gandalf replies, “It’s the deep breath before the plunge.” You can watch that moment below:

Readers know that I often write against alarmism, against the “Flight 93” fear-mongering that teaches us that each election represents nothing more than a battle for the very existence of the nation itself. I’m not alone. There are many Americans who are alarmed by alarmism. Yet Flight 93-ism endures. It thrives. Last week, for example, the president of the United States told radio host Hugh Hewitt that if he loses, “China will own the United States.” 

“You’re gonna have to learn to speak Chinese,” he added.

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