Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Have you ever noticed while driving along a highway that clumps of cars travel together, leaving empty spaces in front and behind them? It's as if everyone is afraid to be the lone car, the sore thumb raising it's damaged appendage to draw the highway patrol's attention. Ticket me! Ticket me! I'm outside the herd and therefore bad bad bad.
You see this same behavior while walking along the sidewalks of Anytown, USA. If you stop and look inside a shop, sure enough, within moments, there will be a sudden crowd of slack-jawed gapers joining you. Go for a hike on a public trail and people will slow down or speed up in order to not be left alone where they can be mauled by wild bears or the "authorities."
We have become a nation of puppies suffering separation anxiety from the collective feeding sacks. When you consider that one of the many traits America once prided itself on: rugged individualism, has virtually disappeared in the frenzy to look like everyone else so you won't be picked out of the crowd, it becomes more than a casual observance. It points to a fundamental change in character.
There are several places to focus on as being responsible for this herd behavior. Of course the easy ones are the churches. Dissent is frowned upon. You join a church because everyone thinks like you, acts like you, behaves like you, and most importantly, believes like you. The hive of sameness is comforting in this ever changing and scary world, and believe me, the unholy intermediaries know it is in their self-interest to keep you huddled together. It is easier to pick your pockets...and your souls when you are all in one convenient place, both physically and mentally.
The less obvious one is the growth of the politics of mean. It has no purpose except to divide people into groups that can be manipulated for personal and political gain. It works especially well if you implant the evil seeds of "us" and "them" to keep the different groups from co-mingling and finding out exactly how they are being manipulated.
So go ahead and hate people for their sexual orientation, their politics, their ethnic identity, their legal or illegal status, their religious beliefs--or especially their LACK of religious beliefs. And once you make all that part of your collective soul, give up language and just bleat bahhhhh bahhhhhh bahhhhhhh every once in a while because it is the only fitting response to how you've allowed yourself to be stripped of everything that makes you unique.
And once you no longer stand out in the crowd, once you no longer think differently from the herd, once you no longer have the will or desire to stand up for yourself or for what you believe, then your life ceases to have any special value. You become cannon fodder for the war party. You become a pawn in the game of death. You lose everything and never miss it because you no longer remember what it was like to have value as a human being.
This is how the revolution happens. Not by violence. Not by dissent. Not by fighting for liberty, freedom and democracy. It happens by mutual and blind consent. It happens because you sold yourself like some cheap whore to a political party, or a televised religious bigot, or the promise of things and money and glittery, shiny toys, and especially for the promise that no one but people who looked and thought like you would ever enter your gated community mind.
You might as well kick some dirt over yourself because you are pretty much dead.
Posted by Kate Taylor at 1:10 PM