Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made” and in these simple words he affirmed the photo negative of the age old axiom, “you are known by the company you keep.” As our friends often define us, so do our foes. Both those who agree and those who disagree speak volumes about our character. A man’s friends are a reflection of the values he holds dear and conversely, a man’s enemies often bring even more clarity simply by virtue of stark contrast.
What your enemies stand most aggressively against, you likely stand most stridently for, and what they stand for, you most likely stand against. Indeed, if you want to know the character of a man, take note, not only of his friends, but also of his enemies. It is true that we often are the negative – the antithesis – of those who oppose us the most.
In Tuesday’s primary, remember this. Remember that perhaps the most telling and honest judge of a candidate’s guiding principles is likely his enemy’s animus as much as his friend’s praise.
If you are angry with the dysfunction of the United States Senate, ask yourself who the members of the Senate consider to be their enemy. Which candidate do they speak against most aggressively? Which colleague do they rush to ostracize?
If you have had it with the arrogance of the “beltway,” ask yourself who it is these elites consider their enemy. Who do they least want in the oval office? Which member of their club dared to challenge their hegemony and has, therefore, been branded as unworthy of their endorsement and support?
If you are disgusted with the double-talk and the contradictions of Congress, ask yourself which candidate these masters of Orwellian duplicity consider to be their adversary. Which one has caught them in their lies and challenged them in their deception? Who has engendered their anger? Who is their clear enemy?
If you are disillusioned with the childishness of the debates, ask yourself who the most childish person in these debates deems his enemy. Which opponent does he ridicule the most? Who is the target of his vitriol more than any other?
If you are dismayed with the pompous, profane, and the petulant; If you are chagrined by this pathetic circus; If you have had it with the powerful and the pretenders and those who change their principles and break their promises; If you are at the end of your rope with their platitudes and their politics; If you just can’t understand why anyone would plead for your vote and then, when elected, betray your trust; If you are ready to cast your vote in anger; If you’re verging on revenge… Stop and take a breath; look for a man’s enemies; listen to them; understand their agenda and consider their advice, and then do the exact opposite. You probably just did what was right.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you have stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill