It may be the hottest trend today – the so-called strongman as leader. The United States, Russia, Turkey, Syria, the Philippines and North Korea are all led by men who achieved power by being tough on terrorists and other criminals; by vowing to take back or keep their countries for their countrymen, particularly when it comes to jobs; and, most important, by playing on the fear, ignorance and selfishness of their constituents.
Nor is the strongman limited to men. Theresa May, the British prime minister, is implementing Brexit, a strongman policy. And Marine Le Pen very nearly brought the strongwoman to the pinnacle of French power. Thank God for the rational candidate Emmanuel Macron, a Gallic Barack Obama. Vive Macron and vive la France.
The strongmen and women may be tough but they’re not strong. A strong person tempers passion with reason. A strong person can afford to be generous. A strong person isn’t jealous or greedy. Most of all, a strong person leads from the front by serving others before himself or herself. That is what Jesus said and did, but while Christians may talk a good game, they rarely understand his humble example.
And so we have a world increasingly led by cruel despots and, worse, people who think that despotism is true, commanding leadership.