I asked in the last post but one if we expected our leaders to be perfect — and of all places, my answer came from Stephen Colbert 🙂
Who knew? In a segment on Martin Luther King, Jr — Colbert quoted Cornel West, who called the current treatment of King, “Santa Clausification.” Such a cool term, it basically means that we have perfected Dr. King right out of his humanity. His flaws, and I’m sure he had them, are erased in the blinding glory of his goodness. Now what that means for us, opines Colbert in his own truthy style, is that since no one can be as perfect as Dr. King — our appreciation of his efforts is enough, we have no need to DO anything.
So, if our leaders are perfect, we get exempted from the heavy lifting involved in making the world a better place. There’s a fallacy in that logic, but it sounds really good. We wish and hope for that magical person to come and “change” everything, but if they dare address real problems, real angers — we attack them for negativity. If a soldier votes against the GI Bill, we don’t ask why — it would mess with our hero image? Can a woman have emotions and still be a leader — and if she shows none, is she cold and unfeeling?
I’m not playing partisan here — I still think we can change the world. But it’s not by putting leaders in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. Heroes and leaders are not perfect people, think of Mother Teresa’s angst as she still went out every day and fed, clothed and housed the “least of these.” Do those doubts and fears make anything she did less awe-inspiring?
So as we look to the past, remember Santa has the “jolly old elf” role covered; as we look at today, ask what do you want the world to look like? And as for the future, we do what my mom always said, “you stand up and put legs on your prayers!”
God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try. –> Mother Teresa