So, the election is just about over. Finally! The most contentious, the most watched, and yes, the craziest election in recent history has come to an end. There is now only one question that needs to be answered. Not how many emails were deleted, or how much tax was paid - but how many lessons have we learned? As a nation, as individuals and as Jews; what is the takeaway?
Think about this: Is it possible that the election was actually an indicator of what is going on in our homes and in our own lives? We want a President who is virtuous, selfless, loyal, patriotic, and self-sacrificing. But do we actually practice all of that in our private lives? Aren't we just being a little hypocritical here? Wishful thinking will not give us a great president. The way we live is what will produce the kind of leader we want.
On Yom Kippur we recited the "Ashamnu" prayer where we list 22 sins we need to atone for. It's an alphabetical list and includes all kinds of character flaws and outright sins. Sometimes we wonder if it's possible for one human being to have all of these faults. We think of course not, and then,...wait for it...we see that there are men and women with more than their share of these flaws, and guess what? They're running for president of the free world.
But here's the thing; we are upset that the candidates are narcissistic, that they look out for themselves and put themselves first. But it's our own fault. We created a philosophy based on 'looking out for number one.' We were raising our children to look out only for themselves, to succeed at all costs, and to take legal advantage of the system. Our children were quick learners who have turned into narcissitic kids - and now they're running for president.
What is Narcissism? Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. The term originated from Greek Mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. He could not tear himself away from it and starved to death. That's narcissism. I am so full of myself that I won't do what I need to do, even if it kills me. And it's definitely killing us.
Each generation before us probably felt a lack of leadership. But we are now a generation without any leadership at all. We are leaderless on every level, in every culture and in every institution. Few and far between are leaders whom we would like our children to emulate.
"The way we live is what will produce the kind of leaders we want."
The Topsy-Turvy Prophecy
The prophet Malachi closes the era of prophecy by telling us that there will come a time when 'children will lead their parents.' A time when children will bring their parents back to their own traditions. Wow! It doesn't seem possible; but that's exactly what we are seeing today. We are a leaderless generation and that's where this prophecy begins.
When we have true leaders, we look to them for morality and goodness and we are sure to find it. When we have the elite, the righteous, the truly holy people, we expect all goodness to come from them. Even if we learn from them, and try to emulate them, they become the repository of holiness and that's not good enough.
There has to come a time when every person on the planet will find the morality and truth that makes the world go round within themselves! We are being told quite clearly, 'stop looking for a leader; stop looking for someone who represents the truth. Those days are over. Find the truth within yourself.' We can no longer look to holiness in individuals. It has to be everywhere. To such an extent that our children could be closer to the truth than their parents. And ordinary citizens may have more integrity than their presidents or their kings or their prime ministers. Real Democracy means that 'we the people' decide and our leaders follow.
One of the prophesies for the time before the coming of Moshiach, is that our leaders will be like dogs. We always learned that as a negative statement; but here is why it's not. Most animals that travel in packs have real leaders; the alpha male leads and the others follow. But with dogs it's different. Even as a dog is running out of the pack, he keeps looking back to see if the other dogs are following him. If they are not, he will go where they're going. In other words, he is really following and not leading. That is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact that's a good description of democracy. By the people, of the people, for the people., You don't lead us. You enforce what we want enforced. You give us the lifestyle that we choose. So the days of leadership, the age of leadership is over and it is now up to each of us to find the truth. That's good news.
Look At The Passion
The lesson that we can learn from all of this is to look at the passion. Look at the passion of those of us who took sides in the election. We were not indifferent, we got very, very passionate, The question is, what are we using this passion for? What are we saving it for? If we could channel all of that passion into the proper direction for holiness and G-dliness, we would definitely make not only America, but the entire world, great again! If we want to make America great, let's just be great. So all is not lost, don't give up the ship just yet. The world is not going to be over if your candidate doesn't win.
I believe we are all going to come out of this election more committed to morality and decency, because it's shocking how far we are removed from it. Hopefully it will sober us up and we will become a little more honest and a little more chaste and a little more focused. We have just demonstrated that we are indeed a passionate people and we will give all of our passions an outlet for good.