Naturally, we’re talking about global politics. Most of the staff at Berkshire is under 30, which lends a fresh perspective to the discussion. This morning Liz (Steffey), who works on our China projects, said, “I wonder if during my lifetime we’ll have a president we can really respect.” That so sums up something that concerns many of us: a world in which the people charged with national leadership are not doing a job we can admire. We talk about leadership a lot, too, having done a major publication on that subject. These conversations always come back to Winston Churchill (in spite of the fact that there was a faction, amongst the leadership scholars, who didn’t even want to include him in the Encyclopedia of Leadership). Who would have known he would become the leader he was during World War II? Circumstances play a part, and sometimes women and men rise to the historic occasion.
Sadly, our president doesn’t even have the sense to keep his hands off the German leader.
The discussion continued over supper, and Rachel (17) asked Tom (20) to explain what’s going on in Lebanon. He gave us a precise historical overview, and a run-down on the events of the last few days. I was quite delighted, since I knew he couldn’t have learned all that from Jon Stewart, a comedy news programme that is well-known for conveying more information about world events than the “real” news shows. Actually, Tom reads more about current events than anyone I know. The result is that he is quite pessimistic about the future. But he’s a fundamentally cheery soul, so he comforts himself with the idea of having a front-row seat at the first mass extinction in four million years.