Pressing Pause

Susannah Black
Susannah Black received her BA from Amherst College and her MA from Boston University. She is an editor at Mere Orthodoxy, Plough Quarterly, Postliberal Thought and its journal New Polity, and The Davenant Press. Previously, she was an editor at Providence and Fare Forward. She's a co-founder of Solidarity Hall and The Simone Weil Center, and is on the boards of the Distributist Review, The Davenant Institute, and The Simone Weil Center. Her writing has appeared in First Things, The Distributist Review, Solidarity Hall, Providence, Amherst Magazine, Front Porch Republic, Ethika Politika, The Human Life Review, The American Conservative, Mere Orthodoxy, Fare Forward, Postliberal Thought, and elsewhere. She blogs at Radio Free Thulcandra and tweets at @suzania. A native Manhattanite, she is now living in Queens.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, we screened The Reunited States, a new film that engages many of the questions that we’ve been wrestling with here at Breaking Ground: Does a common life require a suppression of debate and difference, or can we find a way to join in some kind of civic unity even while disagreeing profoundly on many things? Just who are we, and how can we—as citizens, as people—best take up our obligations to each other at this moment in history? If you missed it, go here for more information on how to watch the film.

Those are some of the questions that were addressed last week in our discussion on unity, with panelists Samuel Kimbriel, Christine Emba, and Shadi Hamid. That recording, in case you missed it, is available here; we will be taking up many of these questions in the coming weeks, as we shift to a focus on the Commons.

Meanwhile, though, in harmony with the weather in the Northeast, this week’s piece is a plea to retain one aspect of our human lives that has been threatened by the pandemic: Leah Libresco Sargeant reminds us of the need to have lives with enough slack in them to be able to respond when the world, and the weather, forces us to press pause. The convenience of Zoom must not be allowed to replace the contingency of the physical world. With all the other things we are fighting for this year, let’s fight for the magic of snow days.

Best regards,