June 15, 2016
I’m grateful to all of you who by reading these essays, week after week, allow me the freedom to express my opinion. Thank you for understanding that these words come from my head, and they also, very much, come from my heart.
Today my heart is hurting. It’s not about gays, and it’s not about the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It’s not about politics, or political correctness, or any number of things I’ve heard spouted lately that pundits say it’s about.
It’s about the basic nature of human beings, and that eternal struggle between good and evil.
Basically, and yes, in my opinion, there are two kinds of human beings. There are leaders, and there are followers. Now, as is typical of creatures who for the most part live in a “herd” or a “pack”, there are far fewer leaders than there are followers.
Most of us are followers. My authority for saying this? Most people are law-abiding. Most of us follow the rules. Most of us may not agree with a law, but we obey it, anyway. A lot of us don’t feel cheerful filing our taxes every April, but most of us do just that, as well. It is the norm. If it weren’t the norm for us to follow the rules, the laws—in short, to follow the leaders, we would constantly be in a state of rebellion, and “they”, the leaders, would not therefore be able to lead us.
So, since we do tend to follow our leaders, that means we take our cues from them. We use them as our examples, and we emulate them. Now, as long as our leaders have our best interests at heart, this is fine. And really, to exist and survive together in modern society, we have to make that assumption, that our leaders have our best interests at heart. That they are motivated by a desire to serve, and they want the world to be a better place for the children, and grandchildren, and unto the third and fourth generations.
But what if our leaders don’t have our best interests at heart? What if instead of serving the greater good, they are only interested in serving themselves?
Because, it’s about the basic nature of human beings, and that eternal struggle between good and evil.
We’re capable of both good and evil. Both can find room to grow within our hearts, but here’s the codicil to that: they can’t both grow there at the same time. It’s true. If your heart is filled with good, you really can’t do evil things; and if your heart is filled with evil, why then, you really can’t do good things.
So on the one hand we have leaders who stand before us, whose words compel us to follow them because they are, or would be, our leaders. And on the other hand, we have this fertile battleground in our hearts, where either seeds of good, of love, or seeds of evil, of hate can grow.
In the sixties and the seventies and the eighties, by and large, while individual people would from time to time feel frustration, and anger, overall, they tended to supress it. They tended to keep on doing what was expected, and what was acceptable, because it was expected and acceptable. They wanted to do good, mostly, because it was good. They wanted to make life better for others, because that was what our leaders, by and large, extolled us to do.
We really are, most of us, followers, but here’s the thing, and it’s absolutely the most important thing of all: we can choose who and what to follow. We can choose good or evil. We can choose whether love grows in our hearts, or hate does.
We are followers by nature, most of us, and we will follow the path that makes us feel good. So if we have ceded our hearts to evil, if we allow those deadly sins, of which anger (wrath) is one, to take root, then we are likely to follow the voices calling out to those ugly and evil attributes within us.
Yes, the choice is ours and the responsibility is ours. It is ours who follow and choose; and it is ours who lead and extol—and also choose. Responsibility lies with our leaders and would-be leaders, whose choice of words and whose message culls the followers that feel good about what they have to say.
Because, you see, at the end of the day, it really is about the basic nature of human beings, and that eternal struggle between good and evil. It’s about which side of that battle we the followers follow. And as to the leaders and would be leaders?
To a certain extent, the blame for the slaughter of the innocents can be laid directly at the feet of every one of them who has, in this century, stood up at the microphone and preached words of hate, who’ve stood in the spotlight and encouraged acts of violence against others. Who by their words, and their acceptance, and their exhortations, tell us that it’s okay to be evil and to hurt others. It’s okay to hate.
But the truth of the matter is, to hate is to be evil, not Godly. Hate is the most prescient form of evil, and it is not okay, it can never be okay.
This is not just my opinion.
This is my truth.