August 12th, 2010 20:26 EST
Let's Have More Leaders Like Alexander and Washington, Fewer Like Bush and Paulson
The muckety-mucks and poobahs of our moment in history have much more in common with Louis XVI and Benito Mussolini than they have with Alexander the Great, George Washington, T.E. Lawrence and Che Guevara "and therein is a cautionary story.
His Macedonians followed Alexander into what they considered the jaws of hell because he shared their hardships, because he led from the front, not the rear. So, too, Washington, Lawrence of Arabia and Guevara. And that is why they are legendary.
His men saw the young Alexander go straight for Darius` throat. They saw his grievous wounds, his malaria, and his rawest emotions. Washington suffered two horrific winters with his ragged, starving men. And Lawrence and Guevara flabbergasted and inspired their men by their front-line courage.
Where are such leaders today? Is it so unthinkable that the high and mighty who brought down the the world`s economy from their Wall Street aeries should share the pain? Who would follow these selfish bastards anywhere? At every turn this crass elite is putting the screws to us, raising the ante while cutting wages and benefits, crushing their fellow citizens like grapes in a winepress. They have taken our tax money and refused to make loans to businesses. Their juvenile sense of entitlement makes them sickos in the eyes of even the least judgmental. We are asking everyone to make sacrifices except the people whose greed has crippled us.
Lawrence`s bedouins called him El Aurens, the Lion, because he never asked them to do what he wasn`t willing to do himself. Where is such a man among the Cheneys, Bushes, Greenspans, Friedmans, Paulsons, or our political and all too facile generals? They are more than willing to talk the talk, but the rest of us are walking the walk "to the brink.
Mussolini did a lot of strutting from balconies, but it was the Italian poor who ended up on the short end in Ethiopia and Libya. The deficit hawks of today are doing a lot of blathering about sacrifice and savings, but they`re living pretty high off the hog themselves and we don`t see any evidence they intend to share in the suffering.
In a truly civilized world why do leaders need to live lavishly while a single human being suffers from neglect and injustice? We know what Ayn Rand and her disciple Alan Greenspan would say "that the rich deserve the fruits of their labors "but this most churchgoing of people also know what Jesus would say, and we don`t seem to care.
He wouldn`t have liked our smug churches and our tortured theologies either.
Why do the fruits the very rich enjoy have to be obscene? Where is their decency? Where even is their common sense? For surely they must know it is dangerous to flaunt their opulence in the faces of the despised? But perhaps they don`t care, because it takes the wretched of the earth a long time to say, Enough! Maybe the elite shouldn`t be so sure they have all the time in the world.
The fatted rich and powerful think they have hornswoggled the Tea Partiers into blaming immigrants and big government and high taxes for our plight. But how long can that ploy last? We don`t have high taxes. We have the lowest taxes of any industrialized nation. And we have just witnessed how Wall Street deals with us without government vigilance.
The Tea Party delusion is the self-delusion of the ideologue. The ruling elite will do anything to feed this delusion, but delusions have a way of popping. That is why nobody who saw it will ever forget Robert Walker Jr. in Strangers on a Train when he pops a child`s balloon with his cigarette just because he can. The sated rich should watch this movie. Robert Walker is out there.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com