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What happened to divine providence?

Mario Bird | Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Salutations to my friend and fellow Glee Club member on hiatus, Bill Rinner. Mr. Rinner has been offering The Observer his loquacious and abundant views since the fall, and it is high time someone acknowledged his generosity.Indeed, Mr. Rinner’s latest offering, his Feb. 2 column entitled “Don’t appeal to Catholicism in election,” is indicative of his literary altruism: a simple critic is confronted with such a copious wealth of beliefs that one hardly knows where and how to begin. Would a discussion of divine fate amply convey Mr. Rinner’s basal magnanimity? He opines that “those who seek divine inspiration will likely end up at the polling booth trumpeting a skewed notion of God’s will.”Not only am I thankful to be informed that the voting booth has ceased to be an exclusively private operation and now serves as a public fanfare of opinion, but more importantly, Mr. Rinner reveals that seeking divine inspiration is a sure way to contravene God’s will. This is news to a misinformed person such as myself, who until now has mistakenly practiced the outdated methods of “prayer” and “firm reliance on divine providence” that characterize obsolete entities such as the United States Congress and the Declaration of Independence. I thank God, or rather Mr. Rinner, that his philanthropic nature prompts such underlying truths as “We don’t ask God to run our country, nor does He influence any election.”Perhaps nothing better captures Mr. Rinner’s surplus as his profligate use of second-person pronouns, utilizing “you” or “your” 25 times throughout his article. In the hands of a lesser being, such prose would be considered an offense to grammar and postsecondary education, much less an exercise in both absurdity and intellectual insecurity. However, Mr. Rinner deftly negotiates such concerns with the air of a demigod: “You couldn’t decide if you preferred Bush or Gore so you looked at your ‘WWJD?’ wristband for some sign of inspiration. Oh, the folly of man.” Since Mr. Rinner so ably divines mortal thoughts and motivations, he no doubt has already sensed my fervent wish that he might continue to bless us with his bounty.

Mario BirdseniorStanford HallFeb. 3