Lent and a return to order

I think it’s safe to say I put off keeping up-to-date on my profiles of presidential candidates for far too long. In the spirit of Lent, I’m going to persevere and get it done ASAP. There are 3 candidates who remain in the race that I have yet to profile (one Republican and the two Democrats) and 7 who have dropped out. The seven dropouts will have to get a lightning round treatment, as I did before Iowa for a lot of the other dropouts, but the 3 remaining deserve in-depth profiles. And so they shall receive.

But before I get started, I want to briefly ponder Lent. What does this liturgical season mean? The weeks preceding Easter in the Christian calendar have traditionally been a reflective, somber time, and Christians often go without something–chocolate, alcohol, meat, etc.–during that time. Coming early as it does this year, it goes along well with people trying to keep New Year’s Resolutions. Both Judaism and Islam have fasting seasons as well–Yom Kippur and during Ramadan. Lent is fasting, per se, but it certainly echoes that idea. I’m not a particularly religious or devout person, but I was raised going to church every Sunday, and I deeply appreciate the faith that is a part of my culture and my ancestors’ culture. I believe that even without religious beliefs of any kind, there is a lot of value in sacrificing something you may love (like chocolate, alcohol, and meat) in order to gain insight, wisdom, or just to cleanse yourself.  So that’s why I’ve always tried to somehow adhere to the spirit of fasting during this time.

The most personally consequential episode was in 2008. I remember feeling that I was concerned about the type of person I was becoming, and that I needed to become more humble, kind, and polite to my peers and rein in what I saw was hubris and disregard for others. So I did that, and I think it marked a really positive development for me that year. This year, I’m focusing more on health–I’m giving up fried food and liquor and focusing on sticking to a regular exercise schedule. So far, so good.

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