Chivalry to Politics
happens when we apply chivalry to political issues?
Some may wonder if we actually should,
as if politics is something other than a normal topic of discourse.
But how can we not? How could we possibly justify separating the
heart and soul of our moral imperatives from political thinking?
What would we have, other than the mess we have today? When you
think of it, chivalry may be our only hope to improve things.
Discussing chivalry in relation to
political issues does run certain risks. Our respect for freedom
means that we want each person to think for himself, and not be
led around by a follower mentality. A forum like Chivalry-Now,
while espousing this principle, might easily do otherwise.
this in mind, I shall try to avoid statements that are meant to
coerce the reader toward either political extreme, and trust that
the reader will be wise enough to recognize when my personal biases
slip out, which no doubt they will. Let me state upfront that I
am a nonaligned independent who believes that both political extremes
are profoundly in error when it comes to certain issues. Some of
my biases lean conservative, some liberal, because I think for myself.
That is the least I can do for a nation and a world that I respect
and love. What's more, my convictions change as I get older and
learn more every day. Purposely confronting truth has a way of doing
that. I will not blindly defend a position I held previously that
I now know is wrong. I would be a cad for doing that, and betray
the principles of Chivalry-Now, which I constantly hold dear.
This means that I might not agree tomorrow with what I express today.
Humility helps us in that regard. Ego would have us defend wrong
positions until the bitter end.
thought puts us all on equal footing as quest companions, so let's
examine how the 12 Trusts might be applied to politics.
Upon my honor,
1) I will
develop my life for the greater good.
2) I will place character above riches, and concern for others
above personal wealth.
3) I will never boast, but cherish humility instead.
4) I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word.
The first four
Trusts concern themselves with who we are as people, as individuals,
as citizens, whether we enter the political arena or not. A nation
is made up of people, and reflects the quality of their beliefs,
their values, their honesty, social concern and conscience. On top
of that is added what they feel is their purpose in life, their
personal meaning in relation to others and the world around them.
Trusts call for a world where people develop their skills and intelligence
not only for their personal gain, but for the greater good of us
all. Can you imagine a world where we all shared concern for neighbor
that exceeded our concern for riches and power? How about politicians
and their supporters committing themselves to telling the truth?
The world would radically change overnight for the better.
next three trusts, along with number 10, are more directly applicable
to political issues. They project themselves on how we treat other
people in relationship to group dynamics. Isn't that what politics
is all about?
5) I will
defend those who cannot defend themselves.
6) I will honor and respect women, and avoid sexism in all its
7) I will uphold justice by being fair to all.
10) I will
be generous to the poor and those who need help.
put selfishness below altruism by raising the Golden Rule to new
heights. While it's sufficient to treat others the way you want
to be treated, treating them better might be a radically improved
philosophy. We are called to defend those in need, sometimes at
risk of our own lives, honor and respect women, who have long suffered
from male domination, and uphold justice, not just in the court
system, but in our daily lives in the way we treat people.
If we applied these Trusts to politics,
what would happen? Would we really defend the helpless of the world?
Would we take more concern for the poor and downtrodden? Would we
reshape social programs so that they actually improved people's
lives instead of sustaining poverty at huge taxpayer expense? Would
we strongly combat sexism to ensure equality, and let women decide
for themselves whether abortion should be legal or not? Would we
admit our own prejudices and try to eradicate them for the sake
put these ideas in the form of questions to signify where my own
biases might be leading, without asserting yes or no. There are
people who feel justified in ignoring the plights of the helpless
or poor, or feel that wronged minorities have been pacified enough,
or that women are meant to be subject to the whims of men. They
might even believe such things out of so-called religious conviction.
The question is, do such convictions coincide with chivalry? Part
of your quest is to decide this.
remaining Trusts return to who we are as people.
8) I will
be faithful in love and loyal in friendship.
9) I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight
11) I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven.
12) I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day
Can a man who
is faithful in love and loyal in friendship not act
to better the world he lives in? He would fail in both love and
Number 9 deals with scandal and gossip.
Politicians who engage in such tactics to win votes don't deserve
our respect, much less our support. They often leave their minions
to do the dirty work in order seem above the fray, thus reaping
the benefits while dodging the blame. They should forcibly and unequivocally
disavow themselves from dirty politics instead. Only then would
they demonstrate the kind of moral leadership worthy of the post.
Why do we put up with dirty politics?
It reflects as badly on us as it does those who engage in it. It
corrupts our whole system of government, and places the wrong people
in office. Yet somehow we consider it acceptable, part of the way
things are and will always be. Such an attitude is not chivalrous.
It is one of the dragons we must contend with in order to proceed
on our quest.
The ability to forgive is part of
what makes us human, and that applies to politicians as well. Let's
place real human beings into office, not rehearsed automatons skilled
The last Trust speaks of courtesy
and honor. Please differentiate this from bland political correctness
and ego-pride. Some politicians feel that honor dictates that they
never admit a mistake, that they pose strong and arrogant even when
gentleness and wisdom are more appropriate.
With all this in mind, I have been
listening to televised debates of the U.S. candidates for president,
trying to seriously find the leader that we need. I've come to no
conclusion yet, and will not announce it when I do. Each of us has
to make that decision for ourselves.
But my criterion has changed somewhat
over the years, and Chivalry-Now has influenced me in that
regard. Of course I want a candidate who is bright, well-meaning
and has a admirable presence. I want one who is scrupulously honest
and not pandering to fringe elements or special interests. Someone
who can change midstream if the situation warrants it, and not sink
the ship we are all clinging to for matters of pride.
But I also want someone who projects
new idealism, similar to ours. We need a leader who can encourage
idealism, and not just run the government to protect the status
quo. That's where Chivalry-Now comes into play. It tells
me to think of the future, and not just which party wins, or how
it effects my wallet.