SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI – “Thus passes away the glory of this world”

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI – “Thus passes away the glory of this world”

I had never been in politics until a few years ago. My life in the Navy and my second career all involved long days and nights and a lot of travel. But coming to a small community in Western Pennsylvania, I was finally talked into putting my name on a petition and running for a representative position for my township. Within a short time, my mentor asked me to take one more step and run for Chairman of our District.

The previous Chairperson has a distinct style that had proven to be a detrimental for the District. The treasury was down to less than fifty dollars, members had stopped participating and the rest of the county looked at this as the place where dreams came to die.

So I ran. And much to my misfortune, I won. Over the course of the next few years, I would get to look at the underbelly of civilization up close and personal: Professional and professing politicians.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

I did not have long to find out that you get a mixed bag when you become an elected official. Within a few minutes of the ink drying, we found out that we would not get cooperation of any kind from the previous chairperson. She refused to admit that she had been beaten fairly so she refused to turn over any records or money. Not that less than 50 dollars would get us much, but it was the principle of the thing. The new County Chairman did nothing to solve the turnover issues so my local team just pushed ahead. We built new relationships. We grew. We raised a lot of money for the cause. And we supported a lot of candidates that won their races. For most of the two years, it was a good experience.

The Oxford Reference says that the phrase Sic transit gloria mundi was first used at the coronation of Alexander V in Pisa on July 7, 1409, and indeed, Alexander lived for less than a year after his crowning.

“It may ultimately derive from ‘O quam cito transit gloria mundi [Oh how quickly the glory of the world passes away]’ in the De Imitatione Christi of Thomas à Kempis,” says Oxford Reference, a website of Oxford University Press.

I learned a lot of lessons about people and politics.

Lesson One: There is truth to the old saw about friends. Someone once said that if you want a friend in politics, you should get a dog. There is nothing truer than that statement. What I love about dogs though is that they rarely lie. It’s just not a concept they understand. Even on the odd times when they do something wrong, you know it because of their tails and inability to look at you. I lost my buddy Angus a year ago. Its been a really hard year without him by my side.

Humans have no such limitations. In two years, I have witnessed an avalanche of lies. Lies of convenience. Lies of avoidance. Lies of opportunity. Mountains and mountains of lies. Lies serve many purposes in politics. They help the weak to overcome the strong. They build alliances and destroy others. They feed people’s egos in order to gain favor and they rob people of their dignity in order to gain advantages.

Lesson Two: Rumors and innuendos are also practical tools of the lazy and lower intelligence crowd. It doesn’t take much to get a good whisper campaign going and within a short period of time, doubt is raised in every corner. With the new technology of modern cell phones, you can get an entire group of gossip girls on the same page with just a short series of key strokes. The bad thing about that technology however is that it leaves foot prints. Footprints that can be followed and shared.

Lesson Three: Alliances are also tools for the trade. You find out that there are different kinds of people in those alliances. First, the truly loyal people. These folks are rare but welcome in a world where deception is king. When you meet them, you develop lifelong friendships. They stick together no matter what is going on around you.

The larger group of people are the hangers on and the “whatever way the wind blows” crowd. Every time there is a subtle shift in the winds, this group will fall off like lemmings. Some of them fancy themselves leaders but the truth is that they are only leading the other lemmings. They thrive in the shadows of more important people and wither on the vine once they are tested. Since they have little real substance, they have no real lasting power.

Blood in the water.

Sharks have the ability to smell blood in the water. Sharks have a heightened sense of smell and olfactory system that is hundreds of times stronger than a human’s. Their nostrils, located beneath their snouts, are used only for smelling and not for breathing. They do have the capacity to detect tiny amounts of various compounds in the water. Some types of sharks, such as the lemon shark, can even detect a scent in a large swimming pool or a substance that is several hundred meters away.

Political sharks are like that.

My Mom had been hindered by a long term illness and the lock down in March isolated her from the family. Much of my heart was occupied with the frustration and anger of not being able to see her. So when she had a heart attack and had to be moved to the emergency room, we finally got to see her first hand again. Nearly five months without seeing her in person.

When I did see her, you could see the deterioration. I could not stop the unexpected flow of emotions and sadness as I looked at the woman who raised me and kept me on a narrow path for so many years. My brothers and I became close again and that was a blessing.

It was during this time that I decided not to run for Chairman again. All of the successes we had in my term of office were pushed aside by a few people who were seeking to take over. What they didn’t know was that I had no intention of dealing with all the deception for one more day than I had agreed to do.

The attacks mounted would have been painful even in the best of times. But they chose the very day I helped make the decision to put Mom into Hospice to get really evil. The attacked my church relationship and continued to drive untrue rumors and falsehoods to former friends and associates. What they didn’t know is that people with compassion were telling us all along what was happening. We have an old saying in our house… God Sees, God Hears, God Knows. In this case, he used a couple of Angels to help us see some things too.

Then one glorious morning, Mom went to be with Jesus. Nothing else mattered that day. Only my sorrow and grief. And my joy at her being able to leave this horrible place.

The attacks have continued.

The nasty little people have continued to nip at our heels. Their lack of character was revealed in their lack of compassion. I’m kind of glad. It will make the knowledge of their future outcome easier to accept. Not from anything I would do. I pray for their souls. They will answer to the God they pretend to piously worship each week.

I pray for mine too. I’m looking forward to a very long vacation from political people. I will still pay attention to their antics. After all, they can really screw a country up if left unattended. But I have learned an awful lot about what to watch for in the future.

Tuesday will be the local election. We will find out if good wins over evil. We will find out if enough people have fallen victim to the lies and character assassinations to vote for the ones who have been spreading them. I will be sad if a really good person gets pushed aside. I am hoping enough people saw them for who they really are and do the right thing.

But I would remind the incoming Chairman, no matter who it is:

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

I would also remind anyone who works around people who spread rumors and lies:

What makes you think they won’t turn on you when the wind blows again?

8 thoughts on “SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI – “Thus passes away the glory of this world”

  1. I enjoy engaging in spirited political conversation, but I could never engage in running for any political office simply because of the nasty antics you have described and I have witnessed. You have my deepest condolences on the loss of your Mother. May she rest in peace.

  2. Great post Mr. Mac! Skillfully depicts the reality of politics without partisan finger pointing. I saw some of the people and attitudes when my wife ran for State Senator in NC. My condolences about your Mother.

    1. Thanks David. One of the biggest lessons is that it doesn’t have to be partisan to be painful. But once you are through that part of the pain, you remember what to look for the next time. The greatest lesson of my early youth was the stove. Mom told me not to touch it even if it didn’t look hot. But she didn’t smack my hand away when I decided to test her advice. She simply put ointment on the burnt finger and said, “So what did you learn Bobby” with that very special smile of hers. I know many people say this about their mom, but I will always believe she was the greatest human being that ever lived. Thank you for the condolences. She is missed every day.

  3. BZ Mr Mac! What you saw in local politics is evident in all walks of life! I see it happening on a national level right now, but I saw it in life other than politics also! There will always be those who arr too lazy (or inept) to do I thing on their own accord, but like nothing better than to criticize or denigrate those who do! I don’t know your politics (and really don’t care), but thank you for trying! As you said, eventually everyone will answer to a higher power!
    I truly enjoy your posts, and look forward to the next ones! The topics are timely, and well written! Hoping you continue for a long time!
    Deepest condolences on the loss of your mother – she sounds like a great person!

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