When do we develop boundaries? When do we, as individuals, determine where we place those lines differentiating ourselves from all others? Should the lines be bold and hard making them virtually inviolable because we said:”this is where I drew the line-I can’t cross it”?
Or, do we make them thin, delicate, easily transcended so we see no barrier making us uncomfortable with the possibilities we face? Is it a line demarcating where we dare not tread; or have we devalued it because we view things opportunistically and see (or don’t see) what we wish? We can rationalize most anything we choose.
Political activity has no boundaries in some people’s minds. “All’s fair in love and war!” That’s the proclamation many shouted from the parapets of their political fortresses. They see politics’ similarities to war and that makes it a matter to love for them as well. The problem is, too many people fall in love with the concept of love and miss out on the realities of it all. The same can be said for war. They play the “game” of strategically directing political activity never anticipating the dangers their actions pose to others, or themselves. The fact is war can destroy you as much as anybody else. Chasing power can be deadly.
It’s in the specifics of any particular action where the dangers arise. People place different gradations of import to their personal scales of integrity, honesty and decency. Those with higher levels of self-esteem, character and knowing their moral strengths and weaknesses understand the need to have and respect boundaries. They create those boundaries because there are things can destabilize their moral compasses-and they don’t like that destabilizing element.
That dislike is ego driven. If the ego is strong and well-defined by having the luxury of parents more interested in the development of a human being than the direction of a pawn in their dominion, the person has intact boundaries. If the person is damaged emotionally or has self-worth issues, there’s the danger the boundaries are gapped, torn or totally non-existent.
The individual’s desire to be seen in a specific light shades the issue. Those wanting parity and respect for (and from) people possess compassion, respect and concern in their arsenal of honorable conduct. Those seeking to force anxiety into the hearts of their adversaries displace respect with the element of fear. They incorrectly believe building fear equals burgeoning respect and in so doing, erase the line they never respected in the first place.
History books hold the tragic tales of the great, the once great and the ignoble cast from the society they sought to control and direct from the basis of their self-loathing and lack of self-respect. They violated the trust of those seeking the honorable change necessary in any society to assure its growth. Sometimes the growth is painful and other times tumultuous, but the tumult shouldn’t be brought about by the people charged with the safety of the movement. The names: Nixon, Agnew, Haldeman, Mitchell, Ehrlichman, Liddy et al are names associated with infamy in the name of bettering their concept of government.
The tumult shouldn’t affect the innocent watching from the sidelines. And, there are many innocents involved. There’s the public seeking noble efforts in their interests. There are people wanting to believe in their leaders. They want protection from the elements that could turn bad from deceit, vice and/or the simple greed of once good people becoming corrupted by power. Citizens look for the good in their representatives. Citizens want the representatives’ efforts (conducted in their names) to bear the integrity and honesty they hope their representatives’ possess and display when campaigning. The representatives are the shadows cast from the citizens’ light and as such define the depth of the citizens’ commitment to progress and the development of representative government. The representatives aren’t the light unto themselves.
Our boundaries define us as much as they do our limits and limitations, and that’s as it should be. Power has no more substance than the shadow of the man lost in the darkness he carries about him.
Thanks for listening.