Did Tom Brady order the footballs deflated?
No one knows because the legal case was not about the footballs. Very swiftly the legal debate became about some very different issues and the only thing that was established by the entire court case is that the NFL has better lawyers than Tom Brady.
This is normative for our current culture. Real issues are swiftly obfuscated by a smog of words about peripheral or irrelevant issues.
The Washington Post complained bitterly about this recently. They did some investigative reporting showing that since Mr. Trump’s election, foreign power players are heavily booking rooms at his hotels, whether they use them or not, as a way to curry favor.
In other words, it is the same pay-t0-play scam as the Clinton Foundation, only the hotels are for profit. In both cases, people who wish to influence the US government are finding a way to channel money toward the personal wealth of a government official. Admittedly, renting hotel rooms you don’t use is utterly legal, but the motive behind the game is still suspect.
The Washington Post story was broadly ignored by the other press. But the Internet was alive with commentary on the fuss between “Hamilton” and Mr. Pence. This story had little substance and much emotion and bias, but it was carried by many news sources around the world while the substantive story was ignored.
President Obama bitterly complained that this last campaign was highly distorted. In the past, there were agreed upon facts which served as a basis for vigorous and even hostile debate about what should be done about that state of affairs.
In the last election cycle, there was so much false news and distortion of information that much of the debate was about what the facts of the matter were, not what should be done about it.
His point is very well taken, although he hardly has any high moral ground in terms of the accuracy and completeness of the information his government has made available to the general public.
All that to say, in the midst of a broad collapse of intelligent discussion of real issues, the Noble Subjects at SLG have an opportunity to differentiate from the culture and build a brand as people who are worth listening to. That will require vigorous discipline to avoid getting sucked into the prevailing distorted discussions and a habit of diligence to find the actual facts of a matter before speaking AND the ability to reason from principle to stimulate valuable discussion around volatile issues.
Against that backdrop, consider the narrative in I Chronicles 12.
Israel was in crisis. The king that God had publicly selected through the prophet Samuel had been killed in battle. So had the crown prince. Those loyal to the deceased king had crowned one of his other sons king, as was culturally proper in the dynastic traditions of that day and time.
But it was not as simple as the succession of kings. There was also in the picture an illegitimate child from the wife of the Ammonite king, Nahash, who had been in and out of the court of King Saul, always surrounded by controversy. Lately he had been operating a terrorist group in the wilderness.
Meanwhile, because the terrorist was highly charismatic, and because the former king had been quite inept and capricious in certain facets of his administration, some of the populace backed the terrorist as the new king.
This, of course, was at the very least an act of treason and most likely would precipitate a civil war.
All of this was happening in the aftermath of crushing defeat by a chronically hostile neighboring country, leaving Israel with a shattered army and a moribund economy.
On the one hand, there was little reason to think the new king would be able to defeat the foreign invader with any more ease than the previous king. The outlaw was quite brilliant with his guerrilla warfare and had achieved some storied victories against the neighboring barbarians back in the day.
On the other hand, starting a civil war when you have barbarians at the gate is hardly an inspiring political move.
Furthermore, the charismatic terrorist had an unsavory reputation with women, and tended to gather around himself some very rough characters. If he was promoted to king, he would undoubtedly fill his administration with the riffraff who were loyal to him but who had no political experience whatsoever.
The nation’s first experience with the emerging oligarchy was sufficiently distressing that the tide of public opinion swung in the direction of the populist who had charmed his way into the hearts of many.
So there was an illegitimate gathering of the movers and shakers from the various tribes who were willing to back him in a civil war. Each tribe’s contribution was measured in numbers of bodies. The disparities were remarkable.
The tribe of Zebulon, which historically avoided the lime light, sent 50,000 warriors.
The tribe of Benjamin which had backed the former king had 3,000 people come unofficially since the tribe was officially with the dynasty of Saul. Still, that was an impressive break from precedence, since it meant those 3,000 could not go home for the duration of the civil war, lest they be killed for treason. Their families were at risk, and their lands were surely expropriated for this courageous act of independent thinking.
The claimant’s own tribe, the largest in land and population, sent a paltry 6,800. He had some powerful enemies in his home turf.
Interestingly the tribe of Issachar was listed as follows: “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do— 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.”
The body count did not matter. All that mattered were the numbers of leaders, and they were leaders not because of military expertise, but because they could assess the messy situation and know the right way forward, through all the smog of propaganda.
I neither know nor care how many people consider themselves part of the SLG tribe. But I sure would love to contribute 200 thinkers to this current culture of opinionated twisted thinkers.
With that in mind, I will be posting concept articles from time to time. I will deliberately frame them so that there is not an easy “right” answer. My objective is to equip you to ponder, discuss in depth without rancor and to learn the art of leadership through making hard decisions that will earn the respect of those closest to you.
Copyright November 2016 by Arthur Burk