Sometimes people will tell me, “You don’t know what you’re missing!”
And I think, That makes me happy.
“YOU BETTER NOT STOP RUNNING!” My dad was shouting as his voice drowned out my coach and the crowd.
We are all products of some inner wiring built in by our Heavenly Father producing the individual personality that we grow into. And that personality is molded by the people who raise us – mainly our mom and dad. This Father’s day in 2016 I want to share a story that showcases how my heavenly and earthly fathers shaped me as an eighth grade boy who has since celebrated his 50th year as a man still living out the imprint of that day and many like it.
I am a competitor by nature (Heavenly Father) and nourishment (earthly father). Yet, I didn’t have the luxury of being born with the winning physical stature. I was always one of the three smallest on whatever team – baseball, football, basketball, and wrestling. So I find it awesome that my dad even believed in me enough to enroll me in two or three sports per year. He even signed up to coach football my second year in second grade. And then he would drive me to excel. The tire was hung between the trees with the daily passes that had to be thrown through it. I always felt that he expected more from me than my teammates, and he never kicked any of them when he made them run extra laps for poor performance due to attitude. He didn’t shout at them with the same intensity (or with the same words) as he did when he grabbed me by the face mask. Strangely, I didn’t hate him for it then (by nature?), and I cherish him for it decades later. My dad’s made a winner.
One story stands out: It shaped me to win no matter what.
It was my eighth year of football at Coosa, but I was no longer the quarterback. That glory was reserved for a poorly talented but rich family by the name of Sheppard. With his older brother already in the NFL, the parents were determined that he would follow in his steps. So I was moved to halfback and defensively played outside corner and kickoff and punt returner.
On the first play of the game, I caught a pass at the line of scrimmage and ran it 70 yards for a touchdown. During the first half, I also returned a punt for a touchdown along with intercepting a pass and running it back for a touchdown. When the second half started, I returned the kickoff for a touchdown. Not long after that, I received another punt and as I was running it down the sideline on my way to another touchdown, the coach began shouting, “No! No! No!.” He was actually telling me not to score. He had already communicated his desire from Mike to score and not me. But I was the one catching the ball, not Mike. So I heard him yelling, and I knew he wanted me to stop, but I couldn’t stop – it wasn’t in my nature nor was it in my nurture so I did what I knew to do. I scored. It wasn’t long after this that I intercepted a pass and was running it down the same sideline as the coach began to run down the sidelines screaming “No!” at me again. This time his voice was drowned out by my dad. I could see and hear him as he ran down the field yelling, “You better not stop running! You better not stop running!” I was filled with conflict but I obeyed my daddy.
I didn’t know it at the time but I was being shaped not only to win but to win even when my own side was against me. Both of my dad’s taught me to stand alone, run alone, and win alone if I must. Thanks to the two greatest dad’s in the world.
After a meme on FB, a sound bite on CNN, and a tweet, I have all I need for my next thoroughly informed opinion and post on things that matter.
Is intelligence the marker for those who aspire to elected offices? I think not.
What characteristic is dominant in those who aspire to public office: Intelligence or Ambition? I find the average and overwhelming majority of those who hold public office to have a remarkable tendency toward ambition. These are typically driven, determined, doers. Just listen to their sound bytes and slogans. These people are aggressive movers and shakers, and they have come to fix the problems. Often their intentions are noble and their causes worthy.
BUT…there is a problem. They and those who elect or hire them mistake ambition for intelligence. We judge them according to their appearance – well dressed, organized, and charismatic. What we see leads us to believe that what lies beneath must be brilliant. That is where we err (so do the ambitious).
As I speak with or listen to public officials it is clear that their view of themselves is rather high when it comes to their intelligence. This requires a bit more parsing of intelligence itself. I want to suggest that there are at least two kinds or branches of intelligence. Let’s call the first, substantive intelligence. This is the kind of intelligence that begins with or works back to the philosophical foundation of issues common to humanity. It is the deeper intelligence of those in the smart pool. It is often marked by less flashy and less demonstrable personalities. It is slower, substance takes longer. The second kind is that of surface intelligence. This is the kind of intelligence that is more street smart or business savvy. It negotiates environments and multitasks. It is fast and bright.
Both of these are intelligent, but which one do you want making policies that turn into print and then govern lives and laws and regulations? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, this is not the way of politics, nor the ambitious. The reality is that those who shine bright enough to be elected or hired in these public positions are the ambitious with surface intelligence. Their bulb may be the brightest, but the power center from which it emanates truly has less to work with. The appearance you see is the intelligence you are getting. What you see is what you get. And please hear me – I do not mean to suggest that ambition is bad, you just can’t fix the world’s problems with it. It desperately needs substantive intelligence (coupled to a matching integrity, the other half of the “elected” equation).
What to do? What to do? Well, we know what electing and hiring those jumping up and down screaming “Pick me!” will get us. My direction is that there is a way to approach the systemic and substantive issues facing society:
- Stop electing appearances. The flash in the pan is fool’s gold. On the flip side, the people who should have the most power, probably won’t be good on TV. Let them hire a flashy spokesman.
- We must go and find those substantive intelligent personalities who have the cognitive and philosophical capital to genuinely solve the problem of the day. Here’s a clue: they aren’t applying for the job. They already understand the system. We will have to press them into service.
- On the other hand, the ambitious substantively intelligent person does exist, and we don’t want to miss them for obvious reasons. We must however, vet them substantively. Clue: their names don’t start with D or H.
Please do not read the following as an endorsement of Donald Trump. It is not.
As I watch the hearing on FBI Director Comey’s decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton, I would summarize his conclusions this way:
- Comey’s decision does not declare Hillary to be innocent. The decision is that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring the case against her.” This is due to the fact that it is his judgment, along with his team, that given the fact that only one person has been prosecuted for “gross negligence” in the past 99 years that it would be hypocritical to prosecute her. This “gross negligence” includes criminal intent and must be able to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Director Comey concluded that he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hillary Clinton had any criminal intent in her use of a private server.
- Comey did conclude that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless and negligent.” He stated that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.” He also characterized her as not having the “sophistication” to understand the classification system.
- Finally, Director Comey made it very clear that anyone in his agency, the FBI, who conducted themselves similarly would be, and would have been prior to this issue, subject to termination of employment: “There would be consequences.”
What does seem to be a reasonable conclusion one could draw is this:
Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted, but she should be fired. Therefore, her incompetence automatically removes her from any consideration for the Presidency of the United States of America.
When Constantine legalized christianity, all hell broke loose.
It once was that if you gave a kid an inch, he would take a mile. Today, if you give a kid an inch, he will board a plane.