In the barrage of diagnostic commentaries following Tuesday’s election there was one that caught my attention. Voter turnout across the nation was low. 85% of young people and almost that many working adults chose not to vote. The commentator speculated that with 95% of the economic recovery going to the 1% and with massive corporate money buying the election of politicians who align themselves with corporate interests…well it just seems futile to cast a ballot. Hard to argue with that.
I am reminded of when Jack and I sat on a hill looking across the river at the O’Brien inaugural stone where for centuries clan leaders were initiated. As it was for all clans in Ireland, leadership was a sacred trust and leaders were held to the highest standard of moral code and conduct. They must be possessed of the noble qualities of hospitality, reputation, and dignity; righteousness and brilliance; generosity, geniality, and honor; courtesy and companionship; glory, bravery, and affection; beauty, prudence, and discernment; excellence, eminence, and gaiety. Above all they were to stand in and act from a place of right relationship with the land and the people. If they faltered in any of this they were immediately disposed by the people. No waiting for the next election. No accommodation for excuses, blaming, and false promises. No amount of wealth or negotiation could keep them in office. When the clan gathered to consider the matter of their king everyone attended. Not just 15%. The people held the power and their decision was both immediate and absolute. And it’s hard to argue with that.