Orbiting Dicta

Political Patience: The View from Here

Dear Mr. Pence (and those who sent you),

I realize that you do not have much time or perhaps inclination to read books, but you might find it instructive to note that the noted author G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” [What’s Wrong with the World (1900)]  Because something has not yet succeeded does not mean it has failed.  Patience remains a virtue.  Rashness and impetuosity (one might add “especially in foreign relations”) do not. In a similar vein, another noteworthy figure claimed, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” [Luke 21:19 (KJV)]  Or, in the more distant past, we hear “A man’s wisdom yields patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” [Proverbs 19:11, (New International Version)]

There are plenty of examples of how patience rather than  bluster pays off in the long run.  It took Thomas Edison over 3,000 experiments to settle on a filament for use in his improved incandescent bulb, and even then it was imperfect. It took years of further, difficult research and experiment to produce the tungsten light bulb.

Examples of successful patience in the face of difficulty could be multiplied indefinitely. For impulsiveness, not so much.  The North Korean policy has not failed, it has not yet succeeded. But,  like the Christian ideal, it can. “A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!” [Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act I, scene 1]