"All I can do is be me, whoever that is." – Bob Dylan
When we think of greatness, some of us cite Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi. And what about Leonardo di Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Benjamin Franklin? We can all agree that there has been much greatness in the annuls of history. But great people can be completely contemptible, even downright dishonorable, in their everyday relations with the people around them. Perhaps it’s the pressure of continually trying to live up to expectations. Perhaps it’s the ego’s perception that great talent is all that matters, and to hell with the niceties. We see that every day in our culture. Movie stars, pop stars, star athletes. The stars are shining bright, dazzling us with their bling bling, but how much light is in the heart? And how much heart is in their nature?
I think of people in terms of realness. Utter honesty. The catch-phrase today is transparency – the quality of openness, accountability. It’s the authenticity our magazine explores in this issue. Edge Life publisher Gary Beckman says it’s a way of operating with no hidden agendas. It’s the state of being totally upfront with everybody you meet. We call these people "straight shooters." I guess everyone else is shooting at angles – or shooting blanks.
In today’s society, some occupations are notorious for not shooting straight. Lawyers. Car salesmen. Journalists. Politicians. Much of the alienation people feel toward members of both political parties is the result of perceived dishonesty. A lack of transparency. Inauthentic motivations. People feel these politicians are so focused on pleasing special interest groups that they ignore the greater good. I just sat down the other night with my wife and re-watched the classic Mr. Smith goes to Washington, the classic Frank Capra film starring a young Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith, a boy’s club leader who is appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. The political machine in his state believes the na