Monday, September 6, 2010

Beware the desire for a "savior"

Another thing that has been on my mind. Tough times spawn fear,emotional rhetoric, and the desire to get problems fixed--yesterday if possible.

I don't want my blog to become heavy with polemics, but perhaps wherever there lies desire for change, there is a political concern. Just as a generation ago, we women would defensively say, "I'm not a feminist, but..." now people sheepishly admit to their own leanings.

Okay, go ahead and be conservative...or liberal...or whatever. Just don't be sheep. I've seen the videos of the Palin-Beck rally, and now fast-forward through the repetitive onslaught of election TV spots. Regardless of who you voted for in the last presidential election, all I hope is that you didn't do it with the hope that the winner would miraculously save us from years of collective missteps. In the almost two years since the last big crusade (conducted with an almost spiritual zeal), there has been much second-guessing and disappointment.

I think it was inevitable that (given our human nature), whoever "won" the election was going to be set up--first as a rescuing hero, and then as a scapegoat. The political pendulum, as I see it, is being swung more by desperation than by pragmatism. A week or so ago, when I was contemplating this post, I thought that we were in the throes of a 1960's-like division, but now I'm concerned that we're more leaning toward a herd mentality. With divisiveness there remains spirited debate, a check-and-balance; in the thunder of a frightened mass, voices often fall silent. Silence can then engender apathy, and even despair. With lack of knowledge and ideas, a nation is prime for extremists to step in and do its thinking for it. THAT is what frightens me, not Obama-versus-the-GOP.

Our country, and our world, cannot afford the luxury of hopelessness. I noted that the recent 90th anniversary of the passage of women's right to vote got very understated press. Perhaps--at least I hope so--a bigger deal was made of it in the schools. We need an informed and involved populace, and it begins with our youngest citizens, our schoolchildren. I'd like to see publications like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the New York Times become standard classroom required reading for students AND teachers.

Years ago, when I worked in a boys' group home, I was saddened to hear the residents shrug and say things like, "Oh, well, what difference does it make? My life, and the world is f***** up, and it won't change. You grown-ups don't care." Those boys are now in their late twenties, and I wonder just how their statements have been validated. Or if we can each take an active role, and help try to alter the course of OUR history.

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