There has been a lot of shavings collecting on the floor beneath the media buzz saw concerning Nelson Mandela’s recent passing. Liberal media canonizes him while Conservative media hardly knows what to do with him, but he’s not the one in their cross hairs. Yet, in all of the swirl there is a really good lesson to be found in the person of Mandela. Mandela was a terrorist ( as all revolutionaries are, until they win) who ended up proving (most likely unintentionally) that forgiveness is more powerful than any weapon man can construct. What is missed in all of his recent exhortation and history rendering is that without Mandela’s past we can’t rightly see the progress he made. But this brings us to a deeper issue and that is how easily history is changed, especially through entertainment and corporate media sources. I know this is not news to anyone, but it’s almost as if we have just accepted this as a fact that can not be changed.
What is helpful for me in thinking about the contradictions of such a man is to also realize that the same contradictions often exists in us all.