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2012 ElectionOpinionPhilosophyPolitics

A Tale of Two Masters

Growing up I worked at various jobs from the time I was 12 all the way through college. In high school I worked for a farmer. In college I had a summer job with a private detective.

Tom, the farmer, was a sugar beet grower and a man of faith. He expected me to work hard, he paid me well, and when I screwed up, he didn’t get in my face. Instead, he used my mistake to teach me a valuable lesson. Tom was kind, positive, friendly, a good mentor and one who emphasized the importance of personal responsibility. We worked cooperatively, and as the farm prospered, he rewarded me appropriately.

Dick was the private detective. He’d served in law enforcement. Violence had scarred him. He was friendly enough, in a forced kind of way. The pay was not great. Dick insisted I use my own car without reimbursement. When I made a mistake, he was in my face. Dick blamed others for his unhappiness.

In three months and over the course of 3,000 miles, I learned very little, took too many risks, probably broke the law, and wound up with little to show for it.

With Tom, it was a pleasant experience and a profitable one too, both experientially, and monetarily.

With Dick, it was otherwise.

Dick was a discouragement, but Tom was a true mentor. Tom was a giver, and Dick, a taker. Tom removed chains, allowing for growth, and encouraged it. Dick stifled growth with impediments, encouraging me to settle for less.

The contrast is illustrative considering the presidential candidates.

Mitt reminds me of Tom, and Barack, Dick.

Mitt has the Midas Touch: what he touches turns to gold. He makes things happen profitably and in a friendly way. Mitt is indebted to no one. He prospers those around him and enhances the lives of others, the definition of true success.

When Barack touches something it turns to stone, it fails, it goes bankrupt, it loses money, and all this only demoralizes people. Barack owes everyone, driving others deeper into debt. His forced friendliness is now giving way to an “in your face” campaign filled with negatives, blame, criticisms and intentional distortions.

It’s simple in the end: posers pretend and pontificate, while good and true leaders inspire.

Don’t settle for less.

Image Courtesy of André Mouraux

Allan Erickson

Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.