Nelson Mandela is dead. His beatification is complete with accolades for his accomplishments while his Star Wars’ Darth Vader dark and sinister side is ignored. His canonization will take place this coming Sunday with America’s high priests of hypocrisy, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, officiating. The rest of the world’s leaders will join in and rewrite history hoping that their own transgressions and mistakes will also be ignored and forgotten when they pass away.
Nelson Mandela’s life illustrates the conundrum “Is one man’s terrorist another man’s freedom fighter?” The answer depends on one’s perspective and the time the question is asked and answered; hence my jaundiced view of political leaders who are swayed by public opinion rather than principle.
Perhaps the most unprincipled and evil politician in recent American history, former Vice President Dick Cheney, stuck to his principles, and those of his patron saint Ronald Reagan, unapologetically calling Mandela “not a great freedom fighter … but a terrorist leader.” He is both right and wrong; it’s all a matter of perspective and timing.