“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
It’s the day after the election, and there have been many emotions surrounding the election of a figure who is controversial to say the least. A large population feels vindicated as though it has cast off the oppression of the Leftist elite. Others feel as though that same large population has rallied around and indulged in divisive, inflammatory ideas in electing a man who is not fit to be President.
This post is not about which of those two camps is right. This post is about some random ideas I had about 30 hours ago during Constitutional law class regarding what we should do moving forward.
While I sat in class yesterday I had no idea who would win, but I didn’t have faith in the competence or qualities of either candidate. I couldn’t help but get the feeling that no matter what happened in the election, the government would likely lead America into its fair share of tribulations.
Being the nerd that I am, my mind somehow managed to draw a parallel with the Lord of the Rings. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that Trump is Sauron. I actually thought of a part of the story that I had not spent much time considering before: Strider and the Rangers of the North.
The Rangers of the North were warriors who roamed the wilderness without homes or permanent communities. They were a unified people in that they were the remnant of a lost kingdom, but they were scattered. Nevertheless, they were known to protect their region from some of the most formidable threats that Middle Earth had to offer. These men were not celebrated in Middle Earth. They did not gain wealth or glory from their fighting. But they served and protected dutifully anyways.
One of these Rangers lived without recognition, but he was a king. He spent decades fighting unknown battles even though he deserved to lead armies. He spends most of his time in the Lord of the Rings as Aragorn, but as a ranger he was known as Strider. As Aragorn, he was a king and leader of armies. But as Strider, he was merely another ranger. In America’s current state, I think it is important to look at Strider the ranger rather than Aragorn the king.
Not every man can be an Aragorn who leads entire armies and rules kingdoms. But every man can be a Strider. As America heads down a road to possible crises, most Americans are caught in a weird position. The greatest deciding battles are perhaps not yet here, and the Aragorns have not yet revealed themselves. But there are still formidable opponents to be fought, and America needs men with the heart of Strider who will live their lives devoted to nameless yet all-important battles.
For the rangers of the north, this meant fighting creatures in Mirkwood. But in 21st Century America, being a Strider means being prepared to engage ideologically with opponents. The rangers were skilled in a wide array of weapons, and the modern rangers must be skilled in reason and politics. The rangers fought in forests and forgotten fortresses, but the modern striders must fight skillfully and passionately in publications, city councils, classrooms, courts, and town hall meetings.
But there is no difference between the rangers of middle earth and the striders of today in that we must be equally willing to take on the inglorious, tiresome battles in the name of protecting the rights and liberties of those whom we may never even meet. We may never gain the fame of Aragorn, but may we always endeavor to have the heart of Strider.
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