Gongol.com Archives: August 2022

Brian Gongol

August 18, 2022

News The integral partygoer

Political opponents are criticizing Finland's prime minister, Sanna Marin, for appearing in videos leaked from a recent party. Marin has defended herself, saying I danced, sang, and partied - perfectly legal things." ■ At 36 years old, Marin is relatively young for a national head of government. But she's not all that different from John F. Kennedy, who was 43 years old at his inauguration. And one can only imagine, based upon stories we've learned since, how JFK might have looked if his behavior had been captured in an age of smartphones. Dancing and singing might look positively tame by comparison. ■ A well-integrated life should involve some useful work, some meaningful contributions to the world, and some recreation with friends and family. Balance isn't just for common folk. Winston Churchill blew off steam by painting. Theodore Roosevelt liked hunting. To have a non-work life is vital, even for those with prestigious jobs. ■ Nobody should mistake a role in public service for a move to the monastery. When we use the word "integrity", we should use it in an honest, comprehensive sense: That a person should seek to be whole and well-rounded, and that their parts should be complementary with one another. A leader who can maintain ties with friends -- especially the old ones who can keep them grounded -- stands a better chance at bringing their integrated judgment to the table on big questions. ■ They ought to have some reasonable privacy, too, since the intimacy of friendship can't be well-maintained under the glare of a public spotlight. But it isn't an occasional private night of singing and drinking we should fear; it is the powerful person who isolates themselves from the good influence of others who presents the real threat. ■ If trusted friends aren't around to help the real person behind a public face -- telling the truth when needed, hearing the cries for help, and sharing the good times that every life requires -- then if anything goes right, it is merely by luck.