There’s enough space for cowardice. Like everything expands in direct proportion to the availability of space, so does this nimble inability to be courageous. Cowardice does not involve accountability and the responsibility of meeting with unanticipated outcomes as does bravery. That cowardice brings on consequences which can be best dealt with indifference is another matter altogether. Cowardice is much more charitable than its tough antonym. While bravery affects one, cowardice affects, usually, more than one.
I find myself searching and stringing together characteristics of notable Kings and men who were/are Kings of their hood whatever its size may be. To romanticize my ruminations, we’re going to stick to the men. Women shall be bestowed far more enchanting titles in posts that are yet to come. Exceedingly, I see and am hoodwinked by traits that fall in and out of sight – namely, ownership, loyalty, empathy, and of course, bravery. I don’t have a distilled list of virtues that make leaders/heads of families/heads of states admirable and worthy of respect. I just have this small takeaway that none of them are cowards. None of them hide behind their ambiguous decisions nor do they supply different reasons to different parties to maintain peace. None of them watch their fold struggle under the consequences of their acts. None of them save only two of their people while the rest die in the sun. Kings and Kings of men are not made of these. And yet, we find that courage is more pervading than bravery is. We find that lies are far-reaching than the truth. More often misconstrued and twisted, because there was a fainthearted who found his way to the top but just couldn’t stand up.
It would be an outward lie if I said that watching such men parade and yet hide the minute accountability comes up, does not disappoint me. It does. But what’s the antidote to this mousiness? Whether it be the government – by which one must not set too much store says Joseph Brodsky – or it be the innumerable heads of social gatherings who cannot represent their people well enough. Do we collectively stock up on cowardice and hand it to those who we elect to lead, or are they simply deluded by the dizziness of their heights do they forget to be accountable it is hard to say.
As an ordinary inhabitant of a Kingdom, I would imagine that if someone has been elected to sit at the seat of power, my challenges should be anything but fundamental. This goes for the governments, the leaders of corporates, heads of religious bodies, and every organization that has been formed to look after a section of humanity. At the ground level, my challenges should not amount to scrambling the basics of life and security. I should not have to fend for my life which threatens me to grow or carry out tasks that the organization/leader has to do. If I’m a farmer, I shouldn’t have to plan for the construction of wells at the time when I should be ploughing my field. If I’m a clerk, I shouldn’t have to arrange for paper when I’m supposed to take records. Workers should be enabled to work and grow such that someday, they may get to lead. Hierarchy shouldn’t involve the assumption and consequent misuse of power. If anything, it should make the division of labour effective and each rung of the ladder, if it has to be a ladder, liable. And a person who is accountable for something in all honesty, should never be a coward.
This post could very well be a cognizant, bulleted list of everything a leader should be. However, it is a conscientious effort to make it one of what a leader shouldn’t be. It is oft-repeated – With great power, comes great responsibility. I would say – taking on the responsibility of other people, commands great reserves of bravery. Insofar as ordinary inhabitants are concerned, most lives become those that watch each day wane and dream the same dreams at night. Not everyone takes flights of fancy and has their five minutes of fame. Most lives become stories on frames hung on walls of houses and others, sometimes, in great despondency fade away without as much as notice. If this is the collectiveness of our generation, the ones before us, and the ones yet to come, who’s to refuse each one of us the basic rights that must be meted out? Why should their battles become so intrinsic that they’re even unable to flare their wings? That they should be deprived of the hanging on to the certainty that it is going to get better instead of hoping that some day it could? Why shouldn’t they go out of their houses and fight dragons instead of walking into everyday requirements masquerading as obstacles? How depraved are lives by such people who assume positions of power without making it one bit easy for their fold to sharpen their skills or at least, once in a while meet a formidable beast on the way!
Growth for the sake of growth, bundled with inadequacy, is a lie.
They say that the heavens churn and bubble. They also say that hell seethes with flames. I don’t know what it’ll take for everyone in the middle to have their wings unfurled and even take a short flight every once in a while.