A Few (More) Good Men

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By Guest Blogger Mary Bergfeld

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.

– Peter Drucker

I’m not a hostage but these days I feel like one. My hands feel tied, bound by the twin leeches of belief and expectation. There was a time when the institutions created to serve us  actually did just that and the men who administered them were  admired. There was also a time, I’ll admit to being very young, when I thought lawyers were more ethical, teachers more knowledgeable and ministers firmer in belief than the rest of us. You can only imagine the esteem in which I held law enforcement, lawmakers and judges.

You cannot impart what you do not possess.

– Howard G. Hendricks

The ivory tower on which I placed such men began to crumble with the civil rights and anti-war movements. They exposed the soft underbellies of warmongers and bigots, and while some hard fought battles for peace and equality were won, those battles divided the country. Some of our religious and political leaders were found to have feet of clay and it became harder to find a few good men to guide and govern us, much less set examples for our children.

I was reminded of this several days ago while speaking with an old friend. Our children were raised together and, despite time and distance, we have made an effort to see that the ties that bound us then are kept intact. It was a happy call. Her first great grandchild – Thomas More III – had just been born. I smiled when I heard that. Thomas, all 8 pounds 11 ounces of him, has been born into a family of lawyers, and while he may or may not follow in their footsteps, he will learn why four prior generations of his family hold Thomas More in such high regard.

Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!

– Thomas More

Sir Thomas More was Lord High Chancellor of England from 1529 to 1532. He was a lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was also a friend and councilor to Henry VIII. He was a man of principles and focused on a personal code of beliefs even when they contradicted or conflicted with previous ideologies. He was beheaded because he refused to acknowledge the king as the supreme head of the Church of England, the church formed by Henry when the pope in Rome refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
In A Man for All Seasons, More, following his death sentence, says to Thomas Cromwell who accuses him of being a malicious traitor, “Not so. I am the king’s true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!”

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

– Albert Einstein

Politically, we are now standing on the edge of a cliff. Our institutions are failing and they are led by men who hold politics above duty and governance. Our president, a man who would be king, is a liar of such magnitude that his word is meaningless. While P.T. Barnum sits in the oval office trying to rewrite the Constitution, he is supported by majorities in the Senate and Supreme Court who toe the party line to further their own ambitions and agenda. We the people, that’s you and me, need governance that’s fair to all of us, not just to rich white males intent on protecting the status quo and getting richer in the process. We need more good men who stand on principle and refuse to bend to the marriage. If they can’t be found let’s turn the game around and let women take charge.

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.

– Margaret Thatcher

I’m not proposing a nation of Amazons, but were the oval office and both houses of Congress suddenly to be filled with women, things, for a while at least, would be different. It takes time for ideals to become corrupted by money and power and I’m willing to wager that a decade or two of female leadership would change the face of our nation. I know for sure that voting rights, healthcare and education would be addressed. So, if we can’t find a few more good men to represent us, let’s replace them with good women – women who know right from wrong and are invested in a country that promises freedom and justice for all.

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