We watched The Ides of March today and the thought that I came away with was that, until we accept the fundamental ‘brokenness’ of each and every individual, we condemn ourselves to a downward spiral of cynicism and disillusion and to the machinations of the most damaged and controlling among us.
In every child’s growth to adulthood, at some point they have to face the reality that their parents are less than perfect, often contradictory and that they do not have all the answers. Hopefully, most children move beyond this into a changed but still loving relationship. Why, then, do we seem increasingly to expect our authority figures, our leaders, to be any less flawed than the rest of us?
Only through the acceptance of brokenness can we embrace and honour the best of what it is to be human. Integrity and the power for good are not cancelled out by imperfection. By holding those in high office to impossible standards, we allow their humanity to be used against them; either we reject them for their ‘weakness’ or their integrity is compromised in the attempt not to expose that ‘weakness’ and they are left open to manipulation.
Thus our unrealistic requirement for ‘perfection’ becomes the basis of ‘corruption’ and there is no longer room in the world for ‘great’ human beings.