Tuesday’s election to choose a new mayor for the city of Los Angeles, with each candidate promising great contributions to the betterment of the community if they’re chosen, reminded me of an ancient Greek election, also between a woman and a man, to choose the leader of the city of Athens. Athena, goddess of wisdom, craft and diplomacy was vying with Poseidon, god of the sea, to become the patron of the yet unnamed city of Athens.
They agreed that each would give the citizens one gift and the one whose gift was chosen would be the leader. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring bubbled up. Well, that was marvelous. The city was a seaport and water was a means for trade. However, since the water was salty it wasn’t suitable for drinking. Athena produced an olive tree from the rocky soil. She pointed out that the olive would provide food for humans, oil for sacrifices to the gods, and finally wood to be used for fire, a real triple treat. Since the city was named Athens, I believe you can figure out which gift was considered the best. I wonder if our new mayor, even though we won’t rename the city, can give Los Angeles an equally great legacy that will resonate through the ages.