“Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire.” - William Penn
What keeps you humble? What is it within your brain that allows you to defend against the inevitable embarrassment that would surely come from exposing the majority of the half-baked plans, ideas, and decisions that pop into your head throughout each and every day? It’s humility. It’s the fact that we are not insulated like we were when we were kids. Last night, I had the distinct privilege to be slapped across the face with a bit of reality that had somehow gone unnoticed in my own life. Unnoticed may be a bit harsh. Perhaps…..”selectively ignored” would be a better way to describe my flight from the reality that my beautiful Jackie and my terrific kids are what keep me grounded.
That may seem like simple and quite common sense to most of you, but allow me to explain. Last night, my seven year old son, Aidan took part in his school’s Black History Night. While the majority of the kids in his school are not black, the event was organized in such a way that skin color was not the accomplishment being celebrated. The celebration was about the accomplishments of the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. All of the expected clichés were used to make the correlation between the quilts made by the freed slaves of Gee’s Bend and the diversity of our nation today, but the kids themselves, at least the younger ones like Aidan, couldn’t have cared less about any of that. Last night’s performance was an undeniable example of the fact that racism is something taught. The kids on that stage were untainted by the stresses and temptations of adulthood. Their world is insulated by their limited exposure and the result is unbridled happiness. They have yet to experience the concept of prejudice, so they sing happily with all of their friends. They could care less about subjects like net worth or income levels, so they laugh with all of their friends. Sadly, the majority of the stress they feel in their young lives is the direct result of parental deflection, so they find comfort in all of their friends.
Unfortunately, we are not afforded the same luxuries of innocence in adulthood. We must face challenges that simply can’t be confronted with childish ideology. Consider anything that requires a minimum age for participation as proof of this fact. Drinking requires an attained age of 21. Voting requires an age of 18 (but proving it is apparently up for debate) as does military service. Driving calls for an attained age of 16, generally speaking. These age restrictions were put in place for a reason. It was the general consensus that unless you had reached the specified age, the emotional, physical. or intellectual requirements of these tasks would simply be too daunting.
What we have allowed to happen, instead of facing the challenges as a family, is that we have changed the challenges. We have pretended that they don’t exist by putting limitations on our children. Competition is too hard for one kid so instead of encouraging him to work harder or to pursue those things for which his abilities will allow him to excel, we change the rules to accommodate the weak. Those kids grow up to demand what is not realistically theirs. (i.e. Occupy Anything) We thought we were protecting them, but instead we were rendering them incapable of performing in the world that awaited them. How can you be grounded when reality delivers the exact opposite of what you were promised?
Our politicians, celebrities, and pro-athletes are a lot like those insulated kids. They live in worlds where the only opinions they hear are the ones that will make them happy. Anyone who is famous, regardless of reason, is insulated. Do you really believe that Obama surrounds himself with people who will tell him “gee, Mr. President; I don’t really know if stubbornly ignorant is the way to go on this one.” or do you think he’s surrounded by a nest of little, yelping, Carneys who blindly support any decision he makes? Do you think anyone has had enough courage to tell Nancy Pelosi that her patented “I think I just farted” look is starting to greatly reduce the effectiveness of all that plastic surgery? No! Of course not. These people are surrounded only by those who will tell them what they want to hear. That’s not how a team works. A team wins and loses as a unit. If the NFL was run like American Politics, Tony Romo would be allowed to believe that he has won six Lombardi trophies and was the MVP of eight different Super Bowls, two of which he was awarded while in High School. No, a team requires preparation for battle with a common enemy. Each member of the team is assigned a position and prepares so that their contribution will lead to overall victory. When inevitable defeat smacks the team around a bit, they heal together and they prepare for the next battle with the added advantage of having learned the indelible lessons imparted only in defeat.
Compare that to the world in which Barack Hussein Obama lives. Every decision he makes is made only after consulting with several public opinion polls first. He’s basically spoon fed his opinions by those with which he chooses to surround himself. In that regard, he can never be truly grounded the way a man who is part of a real team will be grounded. A real team accepts defeat as an opportunity to improve. Obama accepts defeat as someone else’s mistake. He lives his entire life trying to be the man the latest polls tell him he should be. He’s left, like so many others who never figure out how to stick to their convictions, without an identity. He’s left, for lack of a better comparison, like the grown up version of those kids on that stage last night. Happily ignorant of the real world around them. Obama is fed only the information that will support the agenda of those who provide his platform. That’s only half the reality of the country he’s asked to lead. Guess what, Mr. President….Romo hasn’t won a single Super Bowl and your record is not nearly as impressive as your teleprompter would have you believe.
We, as a people, need to remain just as grounded and faithful as those kids on that stage last night. They found themselves shielded from the frightening reality of public speaking by the strength of their innocence. We must resolve to have that kind of faith in our position as conservative, Christian, right-wing, red-state, God-fearing, Church-loving, breeding, patriots and stand together in the face of twisted polls, veiled promises, and outright deceit that is surely coming our way over the next 8 months. Obama will continue his chameleon game, shifting his shape and political color to fit the latest demand of him. We cannot be that way. We must remain steadfast in our belief that if Obama’s given another four years, this country will be nothing more than a final exam question in a future History class.
As always, thanks for playing and have a great weekend!
J Robert Giles