25 December 2010

Creaking Joints

from Proverbs Twenty-Eight

"For the transgressions of a land many are the princes thereof; but by a man of understanding and knowledge established order shall long continue."

It's hard not to think of the Tea Party, or the erstwhile Republican takeover of the House, or, for that matter, the botched lack of legislative discipline exercised by the Democrats when they had an obvious controlling majority in both houses of the Congress the past two years. 

Leading well isn't for everyone, that's clear from Mishley. 

What strikes me as particularly compelling is the idea that the collective "transgressions of a land," that is to say, it's accumulated folly and dysfunction may continue and thrive and in turn produce poor leadership.  Until one of "understanding and knowledge" may come along and establish a long hoped-for order.

I believe this truth applies to current American politics as we know it.  Our drunken habits of material consumption, diminishing educational achievements, and crumbling infrastructure have created a nation mired in its own transgression.  And our leader/princes know it, elevated to power by many of the various forces that support their own rotten habits. 

The generational challenge before us is whether or not we will have the strength and the vision to transcend this rather low view of ourselves and our nation in order to strive for that ever elusive greatness we once possessed. 

In a different time, Roosevelt challenged us with the idea that there was "nothing to fear but fear itself."  He bucked us up.  Now, I believe, we could use the kind of fear that Mishley is talking about--a fear that is embedded in humility. 

"Happy is the man that feareth always; but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into evil."  We're so bold and fearless we don't see our own feet trampling upon the disadvantaged; we're so proud and brave we don't hear the weakening, creaking joints of disrepair. 

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