In 1933 just after Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was giving a radio address which was to be cut short. But these are part of his words to the Nation of Germany.
If the leader tries to become the idol the led are looking for–something the led always hope from their leader–then the image of the leader shifts to one of a mis-leader, then the leader is acting improperly toward the led as well as toward himself. The true leader must always be able to disappoint. This, especially, is part of the leader’s responsibility and objectivity.
To be a leader of any people one must not attempt to make him or herself anyone’s idol. Sometimes our candidates seem like they are trying to become the next AMERICAN IDOL. There must be a grace and an humility that characterizes the true leader or he or she becomes in Bonhoeffer’s words ‘a mis-leader’. God is not mocked. God will not tolerate any idol. We look for leaders who are willing to take courageous stands, some that will disappoint the national furor of the populace. Leaders today just want to ‘win’ and thus the rhetoric we hear is not dissimilar to that heard in the Beer Halls of Germany in the early 30’s.
Let us seek good character, one that stands on the side of the poor and marginalized, one that seeks life and not death, one that will take risks to help the ‘least of these’. Is there such a one? I am not sure but I will pray to God that the correct candidate comes to the fore in the months ahead. ‘You will know them by their fruits.’