May 28, 2016

A Eulogy for Policy Wonks

I wonder if part of the appeal of Pope Francis or Donald Trump is simply that they can be "read" without actually being read. That we don't need to really know the reasoning behind whatever position Trump has taken today, much as we don't need to know the reasoning behind sound bites the Holy Father offers. I would guesstimate a tiny percentage of Pope Francis fans have read anything more than a paragraph at a time of his thoughts.  In both cases there is an implicit trust.

It seems in an age of non-attention span, tweets and one-liners, symbolic gestures and photo ops are much more potent.  Just as Pope Benedict's abstruse theologisms mostly went over like a lead balloon, so too did any of the more detailed policy planks of other GOP candidates. Policy wonks are dead as door nails, fooling people but walking around and breathing.

The heart is in ascendancy, the head in arrears.  Not that the two can really be separated hence, "Love the Lord your God with all your mind, with all your soul, etc....  But Trump speaks to the heart (not always the good side of the heart, but) and Pope Francis spoke volumes just by the picture of him holding the face of that poor, deformed man.

No comments: