Vol. 2, Issue 9, March 2, 2004
Sincerely Yours, I suppose
The missives which Pile up upon my Desk daily are never Dull: at times Inspiring, at times Exasperating, at times utterly Perplexing, they never fail to Stimulate the mind, serving as Kindling to the various flames of Temper and Inspiration. Yet for all that I receive veritable Tomes, page upon page of long-winded Letters and vital Tele-Grams (Brevity is, it appears, rather a lost Art these days), it is often that a single Word or Phrase will seize my attention most Acutely, standing forth like a Gemstone amidst the sand.
Such was the case this Morning, when I received a Letter from some gentlefolk whose Acquaintance I have not had the pleasure of Making. Apparently, it was their Opinion that I require a Subscription to a Magazine on Motor-Cycles. The Signature on the letter was Prefaced, of course, with the ubiquitous "Sincerely."
Now, I have nothing against Velocipedes, motorized or Other, but I cannot Believe that this Gentleman was offering me anything in Sincerity. Nor should I expect such from an Advertorial Letter: but it is Required, now-a-days, to use the Form. And yet, while Americans to-day insist upon Sincerity, sprinkle the Word through their Conversation and strive to Find it among their Fellows, when found it is Ever questioned and Doubted, much like my nephew Ephram upon returning from one of his little Social Events. Yet the question of Sincerity is ever before us as we prepare to go to the Polls this year.
Do we actually Desire sincerity in one another, and particularly in our Leaders? Few nations are as Obsessed with the notion as We, yet we appear to travail to little Effect. It is not quite the same as Honesty, though certainly this is Implied: it is the opposite of both Falseness and Frivolity. Alas, we are all too Skilled at the Latter, and not too shabby at the Former.
Recent Editorials in the various Papers would seem to Suggest that while the ability to Project sincerity is absolutely Essential to the man who would be President, genuine Sincerity is, in fact, a quality which makes a man virtually Unelectable. We like our Leaders to seem Convincing, but wish to rest secure in the Knowledge that, as in a Theatrical Production, the mask may eventually come Off. Actual Convictions seem a trifle Much to the modern American on-the-go: they are rather Inconvenient and Cumbersome, much like a Steamer-Trunk.
Was it ever Thus? I cannot Say; one must return to Abraham Lincoln, it seems, to find a leader of whom it is said Sincerity was considered both a Genuine quality and a Strength. But I cannot say if Mr. Lincoln would succeed in being Chosen to-day. The late Mr. Wilde once asserted that "A little Sincerity is a dangerous Thing, and a great Deal of it is absolutely Fatal." It appears that, at least as far as American Politics are concerned, he was absolutely Correct.