I have very few heroes. Maybe none. We all have feet of clay. But Nelson Mandela? Maybe.
I never knew Nelson. Not personally, anyway. He was media acquaintance only. But I felt I knew him a bit. A very little bit. Like one might feel a ‘connection’ with Ghandi or Churchill or JFK. He was one of the good ones. And, I think, one of the BIG ones.
I never felt a connection with Mother Teresa……..maybe she was too good, ya know?
Most people are not known at all. They are just part of the madding crowds. Fodder for someone else usually. Corporations, always. They are the hoi polloi, the strangers, the foreigners. They are the ‘others’, the more-poor, the more-rich, the lame, the pigment-different and, of course, the ‘celebrities’. They are the madding and maddening crowds. I don’t know most of them. They certainly don’t know me.
We also have the bad ones. Ones we don’t really want to know but become known despite that. Rob Ford, politicians-in-general, bosses-of-bosses, dictators, criminals and others that don’t seem to exhibit any real ‘connection’ with the common people. They may be good in some way. But they seem bad.
I did some kind of loose calculation some time ago and figured out that we were lucky if we ever got to know closely say, as many as 700 people in our life-time. I have no idea how accurate that crazy estimate is but one thing is for sure: we don’t get to know any kind of a significant percentage of the people-on-the-planet. .00000001. Even the celebrities and the famous don’t. For the most part we and they are all unknowns in intimate and personal terms. So, at best I know 225 or so good ones, 225 bad ones and 225 who-knows? (Twenty five or so are family and they are exempt from this critical analysis for reasons of personal safety). Maybe the ratio is different…I seem to know many more good ones…..but I dunno………..
So, it kinda boils down to the good, the bad and the ugly, doesn’t it? Enemies, allies and cannon-fodder is another way to look at it, I guess. Them and us and those who don’t count.
That’s not good. Because we are all in this together. Separation is not in our best interests. And the Nelson Mandelas seemed to know that. They lived and died for that.
I am not that good. Never was. Never will be. Couldn’t even cut it in Boy Scouts. I’d drill for oil and sell Meth before I did 27 years in jail like Nelson. I am clearly in the ‘fodder’ category. Neither good nor bad. Just fodder. OK, a smidge bad, perhaps.
And that is why this blog is about Nelson Mandela. Even if he wasn’t all that good (who really knows?) he represents that which is good in people and, in this day and age, that is worth noting all by itself.
In a time when senators cheat on their expenses, Prime Ministers lie and crime is made into a video game and criminals are an accepted part of the neighbourhood, when morals have become so fluid and flexible as to mean nothing anymore and when money is the new symbol of worship, it is only right that we at least acknowledge the passing of a good person. God knows they are an endangered species.