Cure for the Election 2016 Blues
by Sharon Tjaden-Glass
Like other Americans, I’m working hard to detach this election year from my emotional well-being.
I’m reminded of this clip from The Tudors (one of my favorite series of all time), in which two of Henry VIII’s advisors discuss a translated poem about what it means to have a happy life.
On the left, Henry Cavill plays Charles Brandon, one of Henry VIII’s lifelong advisors. On the right, David O’Hara plays Henry Howard, another member of the court.
What strikes me about this scene is the emptiness of a life lived in the pursuit of power. Both of these characters spend years and years scheming and blackmailing that result in some gruesome plays of power that end the lives of others. Including thousands of innocents.
All in the name of rising above others.
But in the end, the things they long for are things that they could have without any power at all.
They long to live the lives that many of us are living right this moment.
While this election season drones on and we watch politicians seeking to bury each other in quest of power, let’s not lose sight of what truly makes a happy life.
The happy life be these, I find
The riches left, not got with pain
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind
The equal friend, no grudge nor strife
No charge of rule, nor governance
Without disease, the healthful life
Wisdom joined with simplicity
The night discharged of all care
For much of human history, no place like this has existed in the world. I think our greatest challenge is to exist in the tension between seeking to improve this nation while still being grateful for it.
Let’s keep it in perspective.
Let’s remember that we owe many of these elements of a happy life to the simple fact that we live in this time period, in this country.
We have come a long way from the days of burning people at the stake for being the wrong kind of Christians or having our heads cut off because of our political dissension.
Let’s remember to love what we have.