Arrogance seldom has as good a platform to strut its obnoxious nature as during political seasons.
The current one might well take the cake.
A mind-numbing glut of information has simply made it worse. Social media allows politicians to parade pride like an anorexic super-model posturing on a catwalk.
It does seem hunger for power has the uncanny ability to compromise even the best person. But there is more.
Intellectual laziness on the part of constituents seems to be elevating ignorance and vulgarity to the level of wisdom and statesmanship. The rhetoric has descended to historic lows while the rancor has climbed to epic highs.
The verbal wrangling is only a little above the physical sparring seen in less “civil” political systems.
These potential “leaders” boast of the impossible things they will do if elected. Claims made in their polished marketing packages border on lunacy and insult the intelligence of anyone willing to think for longer than a sixty-second soundbite.
No matter how many promises of decency and civil discourse, even the best of them seems incapable of avoiding the ends-justifying-means of negative campaigning. Slinging mud like four-wheelers, they cover up real issues and focus on the hype that will get them the most media coverage.
Yet, the masses appear to relish this stuff. We go after the bait like starving sturgeons swallowing a fisherman’s smelt—hook, line and sinker.
Ultimately, unrealistic promises will culminate in unrealized hopes and the frustration, disappointment and cynicism that has created this cultural circus will only deepen.
I know I sound like a hardened skeptic. But it is difficult to miss the place that arrogant self-promotion has taken in our culture.
Why in the world do we buy the snake oil politicos are selling?
Could it be that we actually believe a flawed human system can provide a quality of society that will only be found in Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom?
I may be cynical, but I’m not surprised. It is what I expect from a world where immediate and impermanent values serve as the overarching source of happiness. In a culture stuck in the now, survival of the fittest is the modus operandi.
But those of us who follow Jesus should not be living in the prison of the temporary.
We have been set free to see the lasting, long-term life that is bigger than the moment. This freedom changes our perspective…and should also radically alter our part of this cultural discourse.
The stark contrast between the current political posturing and the lifestyle and leadership of Jesus is profound. As I study Him during this Lenten season, it is as if the dark political background has made the diamond of Jesus character even more brilliant.
Take my recent reading of John 13–that epic moment when Jesus showed his disciples the extremity of His love by washing their filthy feet at their last meal together. The basin and towel became His avatar of leadership.
Stripping off His well-deserved qualifications as Rabbi, He clothed Himself as a servant and did the unthinkable. He served His followers humbly and sacrificially.
Yet, no moment of His life was filled with more dignity.
After the live-action parable was completed, Jesus left this mission statement for Kingdom leadership: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”(John 13:13-17)
No one has ever had the impact in our world that Jesus did. Millions have followed Him…multitudes even to a martyr’s death. Only the greatest of leaders can inspire that kind of loyalty. Only love can elicit that kind of sacrifice.
Seems to me there is a desperate need for a rudimentary course in the basin and towel among those who so desperately want to be “leaders” in our world.
I doubt too many of us will be inspired to give our lives for the rancorous egotism flaunting itself as leadership in the current public debate.