Ever meet a cop out of uniform? Or one of those goliath-like firefighters, humongous Bears linemen, bicep-ed Cubs sluggers, a member of Congress, or a Church Cardinal? Be honest, now, they all looked a lot smaller and more commonplace than they do in the papers or on the 10 o'clock news. Well, maybe not a 300 pound Bears lineman, but all the rest.
These occasional encounters are good for us. Something like noticing "that man behind the curtain." It's not to say people of stature have no real stature. They usually do. However, it's good to occasionally stand toe to toe with stature, rather than always gawking up at it.
The lesson here -- and lets face it, there are lessons everyday of our lives if only we notice them -- the lesson here is that in a democracy there is no royalty, no aristocracy, no caste system. Well, let me correct that; none by law or by inheritance. Wherever they do exist they have come by merit. In other words, their stature grows not out of accident but achievement.
Which is why we often like to think of our democracy as a form of meritocracy. Yes, we are all equal; but no, we can't deny some of us are more equal than others. Which is why we have generals and GIs...CEOs and line-workers...pilots and passengers...teachers and students...parents and kids.
Okay, that last one is not always based on merit; but speaking as a parent, it's based on necessity.
Currently the world's on Facebook & Twitter fire with billions of people-without-stature angry about those who, one way or another, have it. An ancient battle-line which has used terms like patricians & plebeians, aristocrats & peasants, and now 99% & 1%. Same battle-line, same war, same passions to either seize or to hold.
In the end, the little guys have almost always lost. Later they become heroes. Say like Spartacus. Notice though that while the movies give cinemtic stature to these little guys, it's always the big guys who are still around to make the movies.
In this election year, in every election year, we little guys once again hear big guys tell us how great the little guy is. An interesting question to pose might be this: Do either one of us really believe it?
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