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Posts Tagged ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’

 



“A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.”

― Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince



Character matters.

I have written this before. The words, the actions, and the manner of the leader of a nation are tremendously important. They shape the words, actions and manner of the nation.

Think of the great and revered leaders of our past. Abraham Lincoln. FDR. JFK. MLK. Even LBJ in those moments that mattered. All were fallible men with human flaws, yet for the most part all spoke in aspirational terms, for the betterment and elevation of all people. Their words, their actions, and their manner gave us a template for behavior.

What we are experiencing now is the result of the words, the actions and the manner of a person unfit to lead this nation, a man who does not seek to elevate all the citizens of this land. He and his apologists and enablers, especially those in power who take their cues from him, have set a divisive tone, one that pits us one against another. 

His ugly manner, his crude behavior, his hateful words, and the embrace of lies and lurid conspiracies with no basis in reality have taken hold in his followers. This along with his selfish and narcissistic behavior have become the template for his followers. They exhibit the same selfish, illogical and uninformed thinking as their leader.

I have asked how those who have stood behind the president can justify their support for a man who deals exclusively in lies and hate speech. I have been told that while they don’t particularly his “style,” they endorse his actions. 

This is a justification I have never understood. This Machiavellian bargain is totally unacceptable because, for those who lead nations, “style” matters. Style comes in the form of their words, their actions and the manner in which they treat the totality of their citizens. It is character.

You can’t accept his actions without accepting the whole of his character. He and the wreckage he has produced are a result of those who thought they could pussyfoot around his style, that they could somehow rationalize away those many ugly parts of  his character in exchange for a few things that they coveted for their own benefit. 

Well, it doesn’t work that way, folks.

It’s a package deal. 

In for a penny, in for a pound” as the saying goes. 

Everything in his character, including his racism and acceptance of white supremacy, belongs to those folks now.  

Some will say they never saw this type of thing coming, that nothing pointed to this sort of thing happening. 

My response to that, as our next president likes to say, is Come on, Man!

It has been in the open and in plain sight since long before he was first nominated to be the Republican candidate in 2016. It was written in his words, his actions and his behavior in the years he has been a public figure. Nothing in his character suggested he would be anything but a disaster as the leader of this country.

He even pointed out plainly that this time was on the horizon for this nation under his leadership. In his inaugural address in 2017, he promised us American Carnage.

That is truly the one promise he made good on.

Character matters.

Once you accept the deal to overlook the character of your leaders, your own character becomes attached to theirs. It goes to the quote at the top from The Prince, the classic written in the 1530’s by Niccolo Machiavelli that gave the world the phrase The ends justifies the means. While there are many who hold this as a principle, Machiavelli advised people to try to follow great men so that they might attain at least a tinge of that greatness for themselves.

Conversely, we are tinged and marked as well by our bonds to the horrible and the evil. 

We know what this man is– a cheap gold-plated shell filled with lies and hatred.

Those who were attracted to appearance of his shiny surface in the past now carry his tinge.

Those who support him going forward have adopted his character.

And character matters.



“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince



 

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