President’s Message

Gerry Schaus

Those of you who are familiar with Plato’s Republic know his concept of the philosopher-king (queen)—a person who is a lover of wisdom (i.e., a true “philosopher”) as well as being especially intelligent, wanting to put others first, wishing to lead a simple life, but persuaded or coerced to govern for the benefit of all. Plato’s concept has rarely been put into practice over the past 2,400 years, but a serious, deadly pandemic is a good time to contemplate political leadership in all its stripes.

Currently, our leaders have faced difficult decisions, most recently about lockdowns that stifle the economy and hurt livelihoods, but save lives, and about vaccine procurement and distribution. Leaders are earning their pay these days, whether we agree with their every decision or not. At least they seem to be seeking out the best advice they can—sifting through many advice-givers from all sides, some of whom are clearly self-serving—and sincerely trying their best to get their constituents through this horrible mess. They are not philosophers in the true sense; they are not monarchs in wielding the authority resting in their hands; they have clearly made mistakes along the way, but I have the sense that they are genuinely concerned for our well-being, and for that I’m grateful. It could be much worse. Do I have to mention places where people are worse off than we, in terms of leadership?

All this is a prelude to my message—let’s listen to our leaders about living safely through this dark period, find those things in our daily life that make us smile and bring us satisfaction, be especially considerate of others, and not forget to show those around us that we care deeply about them. Happy, truly happy, Spring.