Rule of Law
The recent passing of Nelson Mandela raises a question as to whether a nation transformed through the efforts of a charismatic, principled leader can remain free and democratic as envisioned by that leader, or whether that nation will erupt into chaos simply because the leader is now gone.
Nelson Mandela had his faults, chief among them was to embrace communism, and the support of communist leaders as an attempt to gain power. But when he eventually gained his freedom, he didn't resort to vengeance, or authoritarian rule in leading South Africa. He chose democracy and a respect for the rule of law as a means of governing. Today, South Africa stands at a crossroads in determining whether it will remain true to democratic rule, or sink into the abyss of an authoritarian regime.
The rule of law is the most important component of a nation's ability to provide its citizens with security from dictatorial rule from within and belligerent attacks from foreign powers. A rule of law isn't developed in just a few years, nor nourished from the captivating exhortations of a charismatic orator. We're it so the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and other lesser humans would secure the blessings of liberty.
The rule of law started its long journey in England almost 800 years ago. In America almost 400 years ago. It's development began with a people's recognition that leaders must not only be selected, but approved by the people. If law is to be respected, it must be approved by those who are to be affected by its jurisdiction. The rule of law, embodied and codified in written form, would be the best method for self rule and self preservation. In essence, it is the glue that holds people together regardless of race, creed, national origin or ethnicity. It saved America during the Civil War through the efforts of Abraham Lincoln by his refusal to accept the South's secession. It preserved America during two European wars and made us recognize our strong character during the trying time of The Great Depression. The rule of law, a charter determined by a people defining the ability of government to affect the governed, gives us a chance for Justice and tranquility in a society of disparate people.
Let's hope that we never abandon this rule, but give it added strength through diligence to its benefits and honor to those who created it.