Kathryn Jean Lopez is a nationally syndicated columnist and the editor-at-large of the National Review Online. “K-Lo,” as she is known online and on talk radio, is most known for her commentary on faith and public life, human dignity, and feminism. She serves on the Archdiocese of New York’s Pro-Life Commission and is a graduate of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Lopez speaks Thursday at 8 p.m. in Lane 124 for the Dow Journalism Program.
How does faith play a role in politics?
What I’ve been struck by over the election is the level of instability in the country right now, including among people of faith. We didn’t have good candidates to choose from. But for those with faith, whoever’s in office, pray for the guy. Pray for the people in office, whether you agree with them or not. Yes, let’s have substantive debates, but let’s have them with love. Weirdly, this situation — the bipartisan unhappiness with politics — has given us the opportunity to be more creative with coalition building.
How can Trump promote faith and love?
That’s not necessarily his job. It’s the job of everyone else. He is trying to strike a more optimistic tone, though. After he was elected, people were immediately either for him or against him. That’s not how it should be. We shouldn’t be losing friendships over who is president. We have this disordered relationship with politics where we want the person in office to be our savior. We don’t need that. Rather, we all need to step up. Our immediate reflex when something goes wrong is to look for a law to fix things, but you can’t undo evil and the poisons in the human heart.
What do you think about Trump’s relationship with the press?
I think one of the fascinating things is that it seems like a large part of the population is watching a reality TV show. As I tune in here and there, there’s this entertainment aspect that the press is playing into. Trump is the villain, Bannon is the villain, Kellyanne Conway is the villain. That all makes for good TV — substantive policy discussions don’t. But politics should be hard work, not entertainment for the populace. Everyone needs to take a few breaths and be more reflective on what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
What are some things that can be done to fix Trump’s relationship with the press?
The mainstream media has exaggerated the press’s limited access. Not all news organizations are going to be allowed into press conferences. That’s just the way it is. So the media is feeding into this misunderstanding, and it isn’t helping anything. Everyone needs a reality check and even an education on how the press works. If we don’t understand that, we’ll never fix it. The transparency of this administration is very helpful, though. The constant cameras fixated on Trump and those around him can be seen as a good thing.
What are your thoughts on Trump’s presidency thus far?
I’m grateful for some things Trump has done, but I’m also uncomfortable with his use of executive orders. National Review famously didn’t endorse Trump, and we received lots of grief and congratulations for that decision. The important thing to remember is people weren’t given the freedom to really make a choice. We didn’t have good candidates to choose from, but that doesn’t mean Trump won’t be able to do some good things. There is nothing comfortable about politics right now. This is a good opportunity for us to get beyond our normal partisan comfort zone.