by Stan Crader
In an effort to draw a fictional narrative closer to reality, I wanted to drop the name of a real famous person into the periphery of my novel. So, I began making a list that first came to mind. Try it and see what you come up with.
Make a list of the greatest names that come to mind. Remember that power comes not only with position, but also by influence – I’ll help you. Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Henry Ford, General McArthur, Mother Theresa, General Patton, George Washington, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, your 1st grade teacher, Albert Einstein, John Kennedy, Sally Ride. Keep going…it’s a thought provoking exercise. Memories that float to the surface include characteristics of each person and the environment in which you first learned about them.
Now make a list of endearing attributes – passionate, determined, sacrificial, forgiving, trustworthy, creative, intelligent, wise, independent, daring, brave, rebel, reverent.
Now list the names of today’s leaders that can be associated with the attributes of your first list. Having a hard time with the second list of names? Therein lies today’s problem. Why is that the list includes mostly people who lived long ago?
I’m confused by the fact that there’s more opportunity to hold people accountable today than ever before. There’s no shortage of information. We have an abundance of personal detail about each other and particularly public servants.
People do good for one of two reasons. Some people naturally do good. Let’s call them patriots. Others do good because they’re afraid of getting caught and being held accountable. Let’s call them great achievers. Patriots live among us – Billy Graham comes to mind.
Great achievers are few. Why? Because as a society we no longer hold people accountable.
It’s a good exercise – try it.
I have some thoughts on the reason for this degradation in standards and I’ll bet you do too.
Stan Crader was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs and the people with which he has worked for providing him his creative foundation.