Monday, November 26, 2007

“Good Tidings of Great Joy” (A Christmas Story)

This is the time of the year to reflect on the great leaders in the history of humankind -- who have made peace and prosperity possible, by daring to envision such possibilities when they were not obvious and thought possible for everyone.

Unfortunately, “leadership” in our time has come to be discussed almost exclusively as the petty ambitions of politicians instead of the great visions of true leaders -- who really change the world with their thinking. Christmas is a chance to reflect on those great awakenings in every life -- of great promise and wonder about the possibilities of unprecedented moments of transcendence -- that unfortunately most lose in living their lives, eventually to become proud of their cynicism and skepticsm about everything they once hoped for and dreamed of.

Instead, they look at a life in which they never dared to do except what they’ve done year after year in unbroken repetition, trying to justify habits as virtuous traditions -- while their lives have passed them by. They once intended to do everything possible -- but quickly convinced themselves that nothing else was possible, or even imaginable -- and so they dared not think there could be a life beyond.

So the Christmas season is a fitting reminder that there can be something new and different and not just the same life repeated year after year, with no additions, no changes, no expectations for anything different. The “gifts” are the testament to the passing of time and its improvements -- as a common, communal, societal, “religious” experience. It’s not just the peace and prosperity for a few that is celebrated, but the richness of all without exception and exclusion.

The greatest of leaders are those who do not create the divisions with their partisanship and prejudices, while the worst of “leaders,” are those who do nothing else but promote the interest of themselves over everybody else, and we should be clear about such distinctions of excellence -- and not insist, that we should no longer be able to make such distinctions -- as though it was some kind of political correctness and virtue.

That is the beginning of all mischief -- that men can no longer distinguish between the good and the bad, and like to say, “Everybody else does it so why shouldn’t I?” In that, is distinguished the great leaders from the worst, for those who mistake following for great leadership. Obviously, they have no idea what that concept means anymore, except to follow, like everybody else, in blaming the “right” people, for all the problems, they will not own up to as their ultimate responsibility.

The reason for all that goes wrong, is that somebody else should have done something -- and until then, they can do nothing themselves, because “their hands are tied.” But the truth is, their hands are not tied but just simply held behind their backs to hide their fingers that are crossed so they can tell every lie with impunity and immunity.

But the good news can only be seen by those of good will -- and not by those who sow the divisions of conflict and hatred. -- as “their job.”