Lessons from Grandfather

When my wife’s grandfather was a young man, he lived in a country which had once been a great and proud nation, a nation leading in commerce, technology and philosophy. In those years, that once great nation was becoming beaten down. They were not winning anymore: not economically and certainly not in esteem from other countries.

In later years, my wife and I were able to travel and visit with her grandfather. He was a charming conversationalist. Even as an elderly man he had a warm smile and an engaging twinkle in his eyes. He was not a bad person. However, during those earlier difficult years, a dynamic leader who was a bit rough around the edges rose to prominence. People rallied to this leader, because they believed he could make their country great again. My wife’s grandfather was sucked in by the rhetoric; he voted for this strong appearing leader as did overwhelming numbers of his peers.

The leader said they were better than everyone else and he would make the other countries pay for cheating them. The message resonated with the people: he drew crowds of hundreds of thousands of cheering men, women and children. He held some positions contrary to those held by people of faith, but most did not care – they were not, after all, looking for a religious leader, but rather, for a political one. This man became the most popular leader within his own country in the history of the world.

This leader made alliances with other countries based not upon shared values, but rather, based upon what the other countries could do for his. And, he did make their enemies pay – for a while. For a brief few years, their nation was held in fear and awe the world over. However, when all was said and done, their nation was not great again, but rather, much worse off than the dark period in which they had started. The leader’s vision of greatness, and his attempt to achieve it, left 60,000,000 people dead and many more scarred for life.

We must not let this happen again. No one can predict the future and our times are not exactly the same as those times. However the similarities are striking. I am absolutely convinced that choosing a leader based largely on fear, hatred, and resentment leads to destruction. Reason, principles, and deep seated convictions are a much sounder basis for selection.

The importance of this primary season can hardly be overstated. There are strong indications that we are at a crucial juncture in history. It is critical that we vote and vote well, this Tuesday and through the rest of this primary and the following election. The fate of the entire world may well hang in the balance.

It is our time to stand athwart history and yell stop! Choose wisely – your grandchildren will reap the results.