Special Bulletin. Nelson Mandela and Polarization

The death of Nelson Mandela prompted an out-pouring of eloquent tributes that hardly needs a contribution from RINOcracy.com. It seems to us, however, that Mr. Mandela’s life and achievements have a message for America in 2013 that is worth pausing to note. 

The adjective of choice for our political leaders, and we who elect them, is too often “polarized.” And it is often accompanied by a shrug, as if polarization not only accounts for stalemate in Washington, but is more or less a fact of nature about which nothing can be done. Yet consider South Africa. Surely our polarization, real as it may be, is far less pervasive and poisonous than the polarization of apartheid and its aftermath. Nelson Mandela, however, did not accept polarization as a rationale for inaction. On the contrary, he saw it as a challenge to be met, and reconciliation as an imperative. Not everything he attempted may have worked and some of the things that did work may not have lasted. Without question, however, his spirit of reconciliation was the engine that allowed his country to survive. 

We might well profit from emulating Nelson Mandela to embrace the idea of reconciliation. That does not mean abandoning political principles or attempting to reach agreements at all costs. It does mean recognizing that political opponents are no less sincere in advocating ideas that, by their lights, are in the best interests of the country, and making the “search for common ground” more than a stale cliché. And if our problems sometimes seem daunting, and they do, perhaps we might think of the problems Nelson Mandela faced and the spirit in which he addressed them.

6 thoughts on “Special Bulletin. Nelson Mandela and Polarization

  • Doug: I remember reading a book called “Kafir Boy” when I was a teenager. The book was a brutally candid description of the life of a sensitive black teenager in apartheid South Africa. Over the course of the five years described in the book, the author went from a shy kid to an enraged terrorist. The power of the book was such that the reader sympathized and understood the transition. After reading the book, I was convinced that only bloody revolution could change South Africa. That Mandela could change the society without bloody revolution was a miracle of sorts.

  • Greatness is measured, not in the life time of great men, but what transpires over time after they have passed on in to eternity. Mandela’s legacy will be measured by the transformation of South Africa, and neighboring countries of Africa into freedom of spirit, self determination, and recognition of the worth of fellow men. He may well be a disciple of Gandi. I hope so!

    • At least they want the voters to think they are more like him hoping to get elected. The celebrities and world “leaders” know this the current place to be seen. Something new will come along soon and they will swing that way.

  • Omitted in your essay is the fact that Mandela spent 27 years in prison. W might think about that for some members of Congress. The threat would go a long way toward reconciliation and finding common ground.

  • There must be something to Nelson Mandela’s legacy, most world leaders have made their appearance at his memorial celebration. The question is, are they there because they agree with his personal and political views or ar they there for political reasons just to be seen. Cynical, I know.

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