If there was ever a figure that embodied the ideal mission of The Recovering Politician, the world lost him yesterday after his gracing us with his strength, faith. and compassion for more than 95 years.
Indeed, Mandela’s experience makes the absurd 21st century U.S. politicial debate that we’ve discussed ad naseum here — from debt ceiling collapses to fiscal cliff freefalls — seem so miniscule in comparison. This was a man who was the leading force in turning a country from a ruthless, discriminatory apartheid system, into a majority rule democracy, albeit imperfect like all forms of government turn out to be.
But more significantly, once he secured power, he did the impossible: Mandela forgave the white rulers who had imprisoned him, who had tortured and killed so many of his friends, his allies, his people. Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by fellow Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, was perhaps the greatest historical example of a moral value that so many of us try and fail to accomplish — forgiving those who have wronged us, moving forward in a spirit of reconciliation and peace.
Mandela’s example truly embodied the treachings of Jesus, whose challenge to “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies” are potentially the most difficult religious teachings to truly follow. And as my fellow Jews reflect upon our own transgressions every Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement, where we are taught that before we can earn God’s forgiveness, we must forgive ourselves and atone to our neighbors — we’d be wise to reflect on Mandela’s historic achievement.
Mandela’s life will be celebrated here at The Recovering Politician with a day and weekend of rememberance. Our contributors will share their thoughts on the man and his legacy. But we are also opening our virtual pages to you, our readers. If you have any thoughts to share, please send them to us at Staff@TheRecoveringPolitician.com. We will be publishing the best of your submissions today and over the weekend.