The Pope (and the Haters)

No matter what you do, someone is going to lead you: your boss, your president, your Pope. It’s going to happen.

After it happens—after people cast votes, watch the news, update statuses, and upload videos—a storm rages.

People talk. “No, _______ doesn’t belong in this position. He doesn’t have X or Y, and that’s what we really need right now. He’s promoting an anti-Z agenda. He’s going to be a terrible leader for a thieving country/organization/church.” You fill in the blanks.

In the process of making our voices heard, we miss the point. Angry comments between friends or online usernames won’t change who got elected. It’s only talk.

In the heat of argument, we forget that these leaders arrived in their positions for a reason. Sure, there have been some bad apples in our stumbling trail of human history. Some did have fame, power, and money-sucking at the core of their agendas. But something in these people holds true. Something in them believes that they were meant to change people for the better—and parts of us, however small, want to believe in them and be changed. Right?

When people like Pope Francis get elected, the backlash is predictable. Online arguments ensue and people criticize one another, but it leads to nothing but more online arguments and personal criticisms. In the heat of our anger we’ve forgotten that the Pope (or any leader) has the power to sway a large population of people to make the world better.

We need those leaders—because it would be impossible for us to all come together on our own and choose helping over arguing. We need that unified message. We need that reminder that everyone holds dignity and worth. Because even if we don’t agree with the leader, we agree in overarching principles: love, respect, compassion, charity.

Free speech and democracy are some of the greatest gifts. But we need to use them productively—in a way that serves those without voices or votes. It needs to happen.



Amanda Suazo, editor, joined BSB in 2010 as the writing guru for the organization’s website, official documents, and documentary before focusing a bit on philanthropy. Now a graduate of Gonzaga University, she is currently an MBA student and freelance writer. Between Zumba classes and downing espresso, you might catch her attempting to be a vegetarian. Find her on Twitter.

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