Most of Earth’s creatures do not question their place in the universe. They just live, bearing the pains and cherishing the joys of being what they are. Human beings, uniquely, ponder the riotous creation within which they are embedded, trying to comprehend its source and ultimate purpose. Few doubt their own importance in it.
On TV some years ago, writer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, said, “I can't assume I'm more important than a mouse.” Yesterday, I heard singer/song-writer, Paul Simon, say, “I'm just a speck of dust here for a nano- second.” Such modest views of one’s importance are rare.
Humano sapiens, a social animal, breeds leaders with visions. Artists have visions that let them see beyond the horizon to reveal the future in their art, yet few become leaders. The English historian, Sir John Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton), said famously: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Profound visionaries like Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, swept up multitudes, yet eschewed the power of political leadership. Visionaries like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, accepted leadership without being seduced by its power.
But the species that produces saints, also produces demons. These are the leaders, the vast majority unfortunately, whose vision, confined to themselves, seeks power for its own sake. This is the road to absolute corruption and the soil of Earth is drenched in the blood of its victims.
At this moment, American politicians are vying for power, each claiming to have a personal vision. How likely is each to remain uncorrupted by power were he to achieve it? And how many of those trying to decide among them will consider the terrible pitfall of power when deciding who gets their vote?