I was raised with adages echoing in my ears. Today, I can go for months without hearing even one. What are adages, some of you ask? Well, as some examples: "Birds of a feather flock together," "The early bird catches the worm," and how about "Call a spade a spade." Now, an adage is not quite as declarative as a proverb...or even a maxim...but it has its roots in both tradition and observation.
When I was a youth, and I would have some trouble that came about because of things some of my friends were doing I would, of course, claim that I personally hadn't done anything wrong and didn't understand why I was being punished. The response? "Birds of a feather flock together." "You are known by the friends you keep." In other words, by choosing friends less than wisely, I would be tarnished by the same brush that recognized their miscreant behavior.
Adages came to be recognized by me as non-religious rules to live by; instead of commandments or bible verses used to claim dictates of or by God, adages were based on long experience of many generations...proven to have value and permanence. Over time and with consistent repetition I came to gain respect for adages...and proverbs and all the rest...as non-experiential ways of living a less dangerous life than I might have otherwise.
Now...there is absolutely no substitute for failure as a learning tool. If you chose a dangerous path and fall and break a leg, you will never make that choice again...or at least not without taking the proper precautions. If you invest on the promise of another and lose your investment, you will never take a person's word as sufficient again, requiring some additional form of surety. Nonetheless, adages do have a very helpful influence and can guide all of us to an easier life, somewhat limiting the number of failures needed to grow and learn.
Where have the adages...and the proverbs, maxims, and axioms, etc.....gone? When was the last time you heard one, except from a grandparent?
Big deal, you might say; what difference does it make? Really? Are you sure you want to go there?
We (the United States of America) currently suffer the presence of an administration and a President that clearly abhors truth, desires power beyond that granted by our Constitution, used words not to explain or clarify but to mislead, distort and subvert, has a work ethic based on sloth, and has surrounded himself with people who clearly want to totally change our governance.
Perhaps you ask, "how would adages and the like have helped?" Consider my first example: Birds of a feather flock together. Who raised Mr. Obama? What was that person's political beliefs? In whose church did Mr. Obama sit for years, never complaining or objecting? What were (and are) that leader's feelings about the United States? One of his associates was Bill Ayers, an admitted and unrepentant domestic terrorist. If one had been comfortably cognizant of "Birds of a feather flock together" do you suppose public concern might have been loud and persistent? I do.
And how about job background and performance as a focus. "By their works shall you know them." Simply thinking that out loud and then seeking answers regarding each of the seekers for public office...and particularly that of the Presidency...might have done us a tremendous service. But that did not happen. Instead, the constant plea of the con man of "trust me" carried the day. Twice!
What is past is past. But I would suggest that there is a lesson to be learned. And that lesson is that a reflection upon adages, proverbs, maxims and, heaven forbid, Commandments might not be such a bad idea for the future...particularly when electing those who would have power over us.