The candidates are leaping, twisting, tossing like fish on the line. Welcome to democracy: can it endure? Are we mere players in the fantasies of omnipotent children? Are we outside history?
So many want to become citizens of no mean country. Greatness (nationalism) meets smallness. Does smallness keep you out of trouble? Unlikely. We know how greatness gets you into it. We’re standing waist-deep in history all the time.
Witnesses have been talking: the Russian Revolution, the dregs of the Reformation, the American Civil War. Outside history, we buy and sell, take baby to the doctor, measure up wedding shoes, worry about the body: weight, style, height and class. Jobs, money, travel; housing, transport, votes. Meanwhile, states are overturned, religions change colour, populations flee or are drowned in the sea.
The Greeks knew how strengths and even more flaws, afflictions of the powerful, cause transformations. The great to be downfallen, the small to be brought high. It can happen in our time. We are careful, and troubled about many things.
Ecclesiastes knows about vain worldly pursuits. Sit under the olive tree while it yet remains; eat good bread; drink fine wine. Fear God: honest fear is wholesome.