I don’t think any of the current crop of Presidential candidates qualify as court jesters, but Shakespeare’s Fools would put them to shame, if they did.
If the very future of this nation were not at stake, we could laugh ourselves to sleep at night these days. We search high and low for the good men and women out there, and find little wisdom and no respect displayed in today’s shenanigans, but a great waste of everyone else’s time and resources is taking place. The national media fawns over the candidates, with the real dismay being the thousands of people who stand in line and even pay money to listen to a few abysmally ignorant or prejudiced candidates. But God puts us all on earth for a reason, and one day we’ll figure out what theirs was.
In times past Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese emperors and European royalty all consulted with fools or court jesters when faced with difficult decisions. While everyone else in the palace kowtowed to the reigning monarch out of sheer terror for their own lives, the court jester was permitted to tell the truth without being accused of speaking blasphemy. Not that European kings and queens were ever considered divine, like pharaohs and emperors. However, they might as well have been, given the consequences of speaking up outside of the persona of the court jester. Even when not specifically asked by the monarch, the Fool could use a play within a play to speak his piece. The jester or fool was obviously gifted with wisdom beyond his so-called station in life.
For those into genealogy and desperate to prove they are descended from European royalty, I would recommend just chilling out. Even if that turns out to be your heritage, such roots aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s better not to know. The royal families and the nobility have been inbred for centuries and suffered from contagious diseases and lunacy that were passed down. Far better to be descended from the court jester, or even the uneducated but knowledgeable farmers who supplied food to the palace, or the servants who prepared the tribute.
With or without respected leadership for so many of today’s citizens, the same thing happens when people challenge ingrained social conventions of their particular culture, whether it is their religious affiliation, the workplace, or another pursuit that inhales their time. It’s considered blasphemy by much of their group to expose warts or to allow fresh air by way of the media into a situation that stinks. Even a child can say, “The Emperor has no clothes on!” while the adults around him or her ooh! and ahh! at that same nothingness. Yet doors do eventually crack open, so earthly justice can be served for earthly errors.
The writer often plays the part of the Fool, even when no one wants to hear the truth. We see so much and understand more than we can sometimes say. We also know that every individual on earth is a son or daughter of the living God and is responsible for his/her own actions. The devil didn’t make you do it because he can’t. Everyone chooses whether or not to follow his wrong, sometimes very evil, suggestions and in doing so, can inflict enormous harm on the innocent.
Everything is made better by education. Everything. It is easy to prove yourself an ignoramus, after all, just by opening your mouth. But beyond high school, not all education needs to be or can be formal. Not everyone is cut out for swallowing the garbage that comes out of some college/university professors’ mouths. But if high school has taught us how to think, we can separate those egotistical folks from the professors who can teach us and teach us well. And if we’re extremely fortunate, we will have a mentor who tells us to keep our crap detectors turned on at all times.
The riots and other crimes that take place in our cities could be eliminated if far better resources were put into elementary and high school education there. Ghetto or barrio kids have often never been outside of their own few streets, yet are ignorant enough to guard them ferociously. They need field trips: to a farm, a zoo, the beach, a science museum, an assembly plant, even a corporate office or a nice hotel, anywhere but the mind-deadening neighborhoods they live in.
Such eye-opening experiences show them that nothing worthwhile comes without hard work. It gives them goals to work toward instead of ambushing the next person who ignores them or dares to step onto “their” filth-strewn, cracked sidewalks. The block they live on could be clean and pretty, if they would sweep up and pitch in and help to plant gardens or planter boxes. But it all starts with the schools and with parents and youth pastors who care.
Education is not just for the wealthy, privileged few. Anyone who truly wants to better themselves should be able to do so. Basic education is a right and a necessity but too many given it as a privilege abuse the opportunity. Those who want to play instead of learn need to step aside and let those who want to learn do so.
One thing to keep in mind is that the educated often fear the educating of the ignorant, lest they lose their own power base. The worst of them will often stoop to dishonest, political scheming to withhold funding from our schools and building hospitals where needed, refuse to expand public transportation, and other immoral acts.
It is the responsibility of the chronicler to record what happens in his or her society. It is the job of the investigative reporter to expose the muck that bedevils us. It is the calling of the writer to try and make sense of the world and to play the Fool when need be, to state what no one else dares to say or wants to hear.
To all my writer friends I say, “Give yourself permission to be a Fool and describe things as they are. Just always remember to tell the good you see as well as the bad.”