Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bucking the Herd

The herds are running amok.

Maybe I’m noticing them more these days because pre-election hysterics are drowning out rational discourse. No, that’s not it. Rational discourse is rare whatever the season.

Maybe because most of the time myths, exaggerations, pandering to the lowest common denominator are transformed into ‘what everybody knows to be true.’ As if my magic. OK, that may be part of it, but there’s more.

Maybe because we are less interested in common sense than going with the flow. It’s easier to join the stampede, whichever way it’s headed, than to think for ourselves. Especially if the mob doesn’t agree with us.

How about joining one of the anti-Obama herds? They’re stampeding in all directions. From the left he isn’t doing enough. From the right he’s doing too much (or at least wants to do too much.) From the center he’s unpersuasive, has lost the ability to communicate, doesn’t really ‘feel my pain.’ It’s too easy to join one of those herds. I choose not to.

How about joining one of the Tea Party herds? They’re also stampeding in all directions. If you care about your country and want to save it – join us. If you care about your country and want to save it – fight them. (This one is tough for me: I don’t like them; I don’t trust them; I question their motives.) But joining an anti-Tea Party herd won’t help. They sprang from someplace. Some threat, some fear, something is at work here. To fight them effectively (or to decide they have a valid point of view) they must be understood. What is the context that is sourcing their actions?

How about joining ‘a pox upon all of you’ herd? Opt out. Throw up your hands in despair. Retire into a haven of cynicism. I’m tempted. From outside the frenzy it’s easier to observe – and to criticize. I’ve become skilled at operating inside this herd. Shunning any responsibility for solving the problem frees me up. And I must say I enjoy the role of curmudgeon. But for today at least, I’ll not be joining this – or any – herd.

For today – at least – no answers. I’ll just stay in the question.


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