Father Eugene Hemrick

Father Eugene Hemrick

“I feel worse than I felt when Kennedy was assassinated.” The depressed look in my friend’s eyes the morning after the presidential election was terrifying.

Equally terrifying was the venom that poured out as another friend said, “Hillary Clinton is the devil personified: untrustworthy and a killer.”

“I’ll bet you’re happy we now have a pro-life president,” shouted a parishioner leaving church.

Putting aside our political persuasions, what are we learning about our changing times from the presidential race?

First, we are realizing we exist in a rapid, instant media age demanding increased critical thinking for sorting out fact from fiction, hopeful promises from real fulfillment. There is a need to practice long-range thoughtfulness.

Second, we find we have an upsurge in people becoming increasingly blase about false information. Many seem to think it is a sign of the times, to be accepted and to go with the flow.

Third, we have seen a big uptick in character assassination as a legitimate strategy for winning an election. And, too, spewing venom has become legitimatized for achieving victory.

In early civilizations, it was common for victors to barbarically “grind” into the ground the heads of the conquered. During the course of these elections, we have seen political rhetoric prefer to employ vicious barbarism over dignified politeness.

Fourth, we live in an age in which money talks louder than ever, making it seem as if money is the god of political achievement. We are also seeing candidacy becoming a commodity for the rich only.

Fifth, it is thought one reason Donald Trump won is that he sounded a message of change louder than his competition. The lesson here is we live in times in which rapid change is now the accepted modus agendi, especially for millennials. They have experienced change like no generation before.

Many discontented people are shaking their heads about our elections and the future of the nation. My mother taught us to keep our heads still in these cases and to learn the lessons that caused us to shake in the first place.

The time is now to become a quick learner and upgrade our understanding of our new age and respond to its challenges calmly.