Greenleaf writes: This is my present leading: I must better establish my own bond with the great events of story and history in which man’s potential for nobility has been tested and refined so that my search can be more a carrying forward from these events through my own experience. Much as I value the tradition in which I live I feel a compelling obligation to leave it a mite better than I found it.
As I have noted in previous postings: Our Founding Fathers were clear – democracy, as they defined it, is rooted in an educated citizenry. Greenleaf, it seems to me, is referring directly to this when he writes about his obligation to ‘establish my own bond with the great events of story and history.’ How many of us citizens today actually have immersed ourselves in our own story and history so that we can make informed decisions?
Our Founding Fathers created a representative democracy rooted in ‘The Bill of Rights’ and ‘The Rule of Law’ so that ALL of us would be response-able, responsible and accountable. They also held an image that each of us has the potential to become the ‘noble’ individuals and that ‘we’ have the potential to become the ‘noble’ society that a representative democracy requires.
As representatives of a democracy we are also required (is ‘required’ too strong a concept; I think not) to enhance our traditions so that we will leave them a mite better. This is the legacy we will leave to those who follow us. How many of us have actually embraced this challenge? What is the legacy we are currently leaving to those who will follow us?
If our Founding Fathers were to appear and judge us – individually and collectively – how would we fare? If they gave us a quiz – one that would reveal how well-educated we truly are when it comes to having learned what we needed to learn regarding our ‘story and history’ so we could responsibly add to our story and history in ways that enhanced the nobility of ALL – how would we fare?
In our most recent national election we actually had folks who sought our votes pride themselves on ‘not knowing’ anything about ‘politics.’ They pride themselves on being ‘political-outsiders.’ Democracy is rooted in – its health and well-being depend upon – an electorate that is ‘politically savvy.’ Each of our Founding Fathers was deeply immersed in the ‘political system’ – democracy requires this of its members. A fear our Founding Fathers had was that we citizens would not commit to the political education necessary to carry on, and add to, their vision. That our distain for political education would create a void and the ‘strong man’ would step in and fill the void.
The strong man would tell us, ‘I alone can make it happen’ and we would abdicate our response-ability and responsibility and follow him (history is full of ‘strong men’ and the resulting destruction they caused – and history is full of folks who said, ‘this will never happen here for this strong man is not like the others’ – when, in effect, all ‘strong men’ morph into despots. Lord Acton was right – ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’!).
So, Gentle Reader, what is your present leading?