In recent months there has been a lot of public discussion about the relationship of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. By all accounts, their ten-year marriage has been successful.
Nonetheless, many people have fallen into divided camps, based on their reactions to their respective ages. Brigitte Macron is 64 years old; her husband is 39.
Some have ridiculed the couple for the age difference. Some have praised it as exemplary because the female is older. Few in either camp appear reluctant to pass judgment on a marriage they have little or no knowledge of.
Edward Emerson wrote the foreword to his late father’s collected writings. It begins:
Like all great thinkers, Ralph Waldo Emerson was ahead of his time. We, rather than the people who surrounded him, are his true contemporaries. He speaks our language, lives in our scientific age, and addressed himself to the solution of our problems. [emphasis added]
Once again, Watergate analogies are in the air. Though they may be overdrawn, there are important lessons that remain evergreen from a historic, catastrophic leadership breakdown at highest level. These lessons are as familiar as Shakespeare or the Bible—and as pertinent as ever in the new world of 21st century leadership.
One major change: the rapid denouement of the Nixon presidency—from electoral triumph to dissolution in less than two years—would be greatly accelerated in today’s Internet age.