By FRANK MIELE
Some 120 years ago, an editor of a newspaper made history when he penned an editorial that included the famous line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
As I pondered what I would write for my New Year’s Day column, I kept coming back to that famous sentiment and the author’s celebration of boundless possibility as he fought back against “the skepticism of a skeptical age.”
Together with that joyful reassurance of a little girl written by Francis Church for the New York Sun in 1897, I paired my own renewed faith in 2017 that miracles do indeed exist and come to earth in the most unlikely of forms — whether in a red suit or with orange hair.
I realize, of course, that not everyone shares my exuberance and excitement over the victory of Donald Trump, the first “citizen president” in the history of the United States, but his one-man rebellion against the suffocating status quo does deserve to be acknowledged as something of a miracle. Rather than continuing to fume and foment, New York and California celebrities and Maryland and Virginia politicians need to surrender to the poetry and romance of this great American story.
Yes, Virginia, there is a President Trump. He exists as certainly as do the coal-rich blue hills of Kentucky, the empty factories of upstate New York, the decaying inner cities of Missouri, and the lost jobs of Michigan. Alas! How dreary would be the future for those states and many more if there were no President Trump.
Of course, I realize that millions of people can’t bring themselves to believe in a better world under Donald Trump. As the editorial writer said, “They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.”
But as Mr. Church also pointed out so aptly, “All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.”
The lesson, of course, is never to put so much confidence in our own thoughts and ideas that we shut out the higher power that acts through us. That lesson is just as much for Donald Trump as for his liberal antagonists.
So, as we face the new year together, let us hope it is a lesson learned.
•Frank Miele is the managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana.