The Responsibility of Good Men
I pride myself on being a “good man”. However, I don’t often give a lot of thought into what being “good man” means – I just think maybe it’s inherent. But these days I can’t help but consider the deeper meaning. The past couple of weeks, in particular, I have had Edmund Burke’s words break dancing in my head – almost like a conscious dream. Maybe it’s the current state of affairs in the United States of America – the elections, the candidates, the process, the people – so much to consider – so many differing and even opposing viewpoints. Maybe it’s a flash of history – the ghosts of the past come back to teach lessons that we’ve long forgotten? Maybe it’s just me trying to make sense of it all?
Whatever is going on, I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my kids – afraid for the ideals of the past – afraid for the future. In that fear, Burke resonates. It is no longer good enough to just be a “good man”. There is power here – there is possibility. Simply being a “good man” doesn’t mean anything. Being a “good man” is open to interpretation. “Good” is relative. Being a “good man” – in isolation – in a vacuum – is like having the answer to a problem and not sharing it. You may have the answer, but it doesn’t help anyone – no one else knows that the problem has been solved.
What I’ve reconciled for myself is that I need to DO something – I need to CREATE something. Maybe it’s as simple as completing this blog post? Maybe it’s as deep and complex as raising loving, caring, capable and self-aware children? I don’t have the answer(s). But I know that in action a “good man” can go from isolation to leadership - from theory to application and impact – from concept to reality. And in that action, whatever it is, he has the opportunity to impact others. It is one thing to debate the state of the union in your house behind closed doors – it is yet another to go and debate those same beliefs in a public forum – to create a platform for others to rally behind. In creation, one’s theories and beliefs are put into practice. In action, being a “good man” has the potential to challenge –to change – to inspire other “good men” – to prevent the triumph of evil. So, I have found strength in the words of another – in Burke I have found a path forward and a reason to not be content with just being a “good man”.
How about you? Are you simply a “good man” – on the island of apathy and indifference? What are you willing to create? What are you willing to do?