Recently, as I clicked through the channels on my TV, I've become more attracted to the old episodes of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW for what the series has to say about the character of a righteous man. The character of Sheriff Andy Taylor is a real community leader by using his wisdom, justice and sense of right and wrong to lift the lives of those around him by constant use of wisdom and encouragement. And although, Sheriff Andy sometimes has a little fun at the expense of Deputy Barney Fife, much of the time Sheriff Andy is lifting up the self-esteem of Deputy Barney by finding ways to make him the hero and give him the glory of the moment.
All of this set me to thinking about other examples of righteous men that can be admired on TV.
On CSI Miami, there's Detective Horatio Caine, who also comes to mind as a righteous man. He is deeply drawn to finding justice for victims, and alternates his tough guy Western style gunslinger personality between a deep sense of wisdom and inner personal warmth covered in a cold and hard exterior. On one hand, he's one of TVs toughest guys since Richard Boone in HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, but on the other hand he's nearly a Biblical example of everything that a righteous man should be. In fact, there was one Baptist minister who used to have a TV program, and he preached sermons about how much he loved the CSI MIAMI program. And my best analysis tells me that he was so impressed by the Horatio Caine character which is one of the best examples of a righteous man ever on the small screen.
Unfortunately, but for comic value, many TV shows often portray men that are so far from wisdom or righteousness.
The Al Bundy character on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN was a hilarious send-up of a head of household in about the most dysfunctional family ever to hit the small screen. He lacked basic honesty and integrity, yet looked nearly like a Biblical Job sort of character by comparison to the rest of his family for their far more serious sins and faults, and his eternally ongoing long-suffering nature.
Homer Simpson from THE SIMPSONS and Peter from FAMILY GUY are both familiar outrageous heads of households as well. Both are also complete fools. And neither has the wisdom or the moral compass to ever really size up as a righteous man by any means. And many other examples these days on TV often portray the head of the household as a flawed man, and a complete fool for comic value, where the righteous man character seems to be less and less popular these days.
In the movie, RADIO, which was inspired by the true story of a high school football coach in a small South Carolina town who befriends a severely retarded African American man and makes him part of the team as a cheerleader and mascot, is another rewarding glimpse into what should be expected of a righteous man. While the movie itself somewhat fails towards the greatness it really aspired for, still the tale of the righteous man coach seemed to suceed enough to be very inspiring.
All of this leads to what the role of a righteous man should be in leading this nation.
In a few days, Barack Obama will take the oath of office on the very same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his two inaugurations. In fact, this is the first time since Lincoln that this very same Bible will be used to swear in a president. And to step into the shoes of Lincoln will indeed be a very tall order.
Lincoln was as close to a righteous man and almost a Biblical figure himself for his deep sense of honesty, wisdom and the long suffering nature of the Biblical figure Job again as well. And like Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Obama is facing serious challenges and human suffering in the U.S. In fact human suffering not witnessed since at least the Great Depression. It will take a man of great wisdom and character to lead America out of these problems almost like some new political Moses.
During the campaign some ridiculed that many saw Obama as "The One" or a type of political messiah. Yet, this is exactly what will be needed for America to turn the corner; a righteous man of great wisdom, character and judgment if America is ever to be great again and not be on a steady decline as this recession wrecks so much of the economy and destroys the business and job structure of this nation.
Now more than ever is the time for a return to the righteous man.
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