Wednesday, November 21, 2012

of cats and kings

Despite their inclination to speak of him as if he was a demi-god, newspaper pundits and TV commentators now face the discomforting fact that David Petraeus is an ordinary human being who gets into his trousers one leg at a time, as well as into women other than his wife.

Barack Obama is not an immortal. He breathes the same air as every other creature on earth, and like all of them, will cease breathing it one day.

It's strangely comforting and at that same time distressing to realize that decisions which affect millions of people are made every day by mere human beings, that is, by people exactly like ourselves, only more powerful and more famous. They have the same weaknesses and limitations as the rest of us, despite our willingness to ascribe super-human intelligence and powers to them.

This comes home to us forcefully when we realize that numerous candidates for the US presidency over the years, most notably the most recent Republican applicant for the job, have been of average intelligence or below.

The ancient British adage, "A cat may look upon a king," expresses this realization by pairing God's most humble predator with one of the most illustrious. In reality, the cat and the king have more in common than attributes which separate them.

No comments: