How tough is it, really, to march to a common drummer?
Why must we always march to a different drummer?
We can follow the crowd without thinking, without making an argument or having to defend our point of view. We just follow a leader, and if there is no apparent leader we know of, we can just follow the crowd – because there must be a leader out in front of that crowd somewhere, right?
Or is the crowd moving as a mass, like a school of fish – some kind of invisible special communication technique. I often think politics, or rather the ‘science of politics’ if you can keep a straight face while saying political science, is much like that school of fish. Crowd movement is not always assertive, but it is certainly protective. There is perceived safety in those numbers, there is security being shoulder to shoulder (or fin to fin) with your neighbours – which keeps enemies at bay if you are muskoxen avoiding wolves, less so if you are krill avoiding a hungry whale.
First, there is no safety in anything. Any assurance, guarantee and warranty is only as strong as the party offering it and might be pulled away when you need it most.
They say the only sure things are death and taxes. I’m sure we can make a longer list, but before we do we should be more judicious about what we consider ‘sure things’ because they aren’t always sure and when they are, they likely won’t be for an extended period.
Risk is not a problem of life, risk is a part of life. Every creature risks being eaten or beaten or vanquished by another. Whatever we build can be torn down, burned down or put down. Whatever dream we have can be shattered. Whatever mirror we look in can be shattered. Whatever belief we have can be disproven, shunned or shamed. Whatever we have can be taken away. Whatever we paid for can be lost, stolen or devalued. Whatever we thought was free, likely ain’t.
In closing this column I’ll tell a short story:
I recently posed a question to someone, “what things in life ought to be free?” I expected an answer that lined up with my top three. I was thinking air, water and food. I know a lot of people will say I’m wrong on food – but I would argue, since we talk a lot about feeding the starving at the same time as food is abundantly produced we ought to start thinking of food the way we think of K-12 education, it ought to be free for everyone. Anyway, enough of my rant. Back to the question.
The answer I got was: love, speech and healthcare.
I like those three as much as my three. I expect if I ask any stranger, or any readers of this column, I’ll get three answers as unique and right as these two sets of three. We may not all march to different drummers but we all see the world though our own pair of eyes – and what we see, what we want to see, is a slightly different world from one another. Little wonder I suppose, why we have trouble getting along.