Communist Or Republican

            The news this week was that Don Ellington retired but kept on working. No, not as a real estate broker but as Newark City Council president. Seems no one in the Republican Party minded after Ellington “called some of the central committee members to see how they felt.” (Don’s very words from the 12-12-13 online Columbus Dispatch article, Newark council president retires to keep health care, then returns to job by Eric Lyttle. You got to love the Dispatch. They use the phrase “Your Right To Know” in the headings of government stories without any reference to a “Right To Look”!). Nelson Mandela was also in the news this past week. All over the news would be an understatement. Praise upon praise was heaped on him like so many flowers at an outdoor memorial site; very beloved by so many, and an inspiration to so many. For Emerson scholar Stanley Cavell praise acknowledges the existence of an “other”, as well as cursing. Many detractors chose the latter; anti-communist fervor continuously deployed to justify denigration no matter what course history actually took. But it is undeniable that, unlike Robert Mugabe in neighboring Zimbabwe, Nelson Mandela really did step down after one year of presidency and allowed others to carry on the work.

 

            ““People say, ‘Oh, you’re double-dipping,’” Ellington said. “But if you don’t want people doing it, then change the rules.”” (Lyttle)

 

            Don’t game the system if you don’t want others doing it. What could be simpler? It’s just so easy to rail about “others” who game the system in terms of publicly funded assistance, benefits, welfare, compensation, etc. especially when it comes to getting elected to a leadership position and passing legislation (like raising the retirement age for social security eligibility). Communist or Republican, Mandela showed integrity in his leadership by actually (historically) retiring as president when he could just as easily have “called some of the central committee members to see how they felt” and stayed in power.

 

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