During what should have been a cordial, light-hearted exchange between “Charlamagne Tha God” and the Vice President on Comedy Central, Kamala Harris well and truly lost her temper.
Asked during the interview who the real president of the United States is – whether Joe Manchin or Joe Biden – Harris let loose an angry and stammering volley of obvious statements before changing the subject to a lot of non-sequiturs which had little or nothing to do with the question posed.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It’s Joe Biden.”
One can appreciate the reasons the Harris staffer Symone Sanders tried in vain to shut down the interview by pretending the mics had stopped working.
At the risk of making my own obvious statements I would point out that when you have to answer questions like this in the first place, we have a problem. Furthermore, when you begin your answer to questions like this with seven repetitions of the word ‘no’ in rapid succession, you are in very real trouble politically.
Yet now seems as good a time as any to turn from piling on the Vice President who reminds us her name is Kamala Harris. And I would draw your attention to the broader question of tempers and how we should keep them, particularly when we are in a position of authority.
Patience is a Virtue
For one thing, flashes of anger by authority figures are not a good look. They do not inspire confidence. They do not project strength. And perhaps most importantly, they do not set a good example for those under authority to follow.
Prickly sensitivity and insecurity are a set up for failure, strife, and infighting.
As a father of seven with an eighth on the way, I’m no stranger to questions from my children. And those questions are not always charming and delightful. Even so, when the questions are frustrating or even obnoxious, my responsibility as a father is to be patient rather than irritable. And if I lose my cool anyway, I love and lead my children best by admitting my mistake to my children.
This builds credibility and also sets the example for them to follow for when, not if, they themselves make a mistake.
As Ephesians 6:4 charges us fathers in particular, “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This pairs nicely with Proverbs 15:1. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
In our household at least, the mother typically has an easier time with these things – not provoking the children to anger, and not stirring up anger with harsh words. All the same, it is interesting to me that God does not only command those under authority to obey the instituted authorities. He also commands those who are in authority to not abuse their authority in ways that are needlessly provocative or contentious.
As James 1:19-20 says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
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