I watched Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama give his acceptance speech in Denver in front of those faux Greek columns and thought of one word.
It was a word we geezers learned back in high school when they still taught us about Greek civilization and literature.
Apparently columnist Victor Davis Hanson also conjured Greek images when saw those columns and mentioned them in the lede of his piece in Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily.
Hanson wonders why some savvy “old cigar-chomping Democratic pro” did not take Obama aside and warn him about offending Nemesis.
Same principle, different word.
“Most mortals in Obama's position would have treaded lightly. …” Hanson writes.
“But headstrong tragic figures do not do that. They neither welcome in critics nor would listen to them if they did. They impute their unforeseen temporary success to their own brilliance — and expect it to continue forever. So would-be gods set themselves up for a fall far harder than what happens to the rest of us.”
The word I was thinking of that night in Denver was hubris. When when mortals equate themselves — we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for — to gods, “the gods” have a way providing oil spills, nuclear enemies, bad-mouthing generals, home grown terrorists, soaring joblessness, a flat economy and a poor bowling game. Humbling, isn't it?