succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, September 23, 2005

I thought I'd post a response to Sid's chastising in comments. He's right, I've violated the code, my role is pollyanna. And I believe him that there are damn fine people out there. I haven't lost my faith in individuals. I think rather I've lost my faith in the American Public as an entity. In last weekend's Times Magazine there's an article profiling Bono, and it says, "He believes - he knows - that the American people would demand action on Africa if only someone would tell them the facts." I used to have this sweetly naive idea too - that when presented with The Truth the American people would act thoughtfully and justly. Not necessarily in a way that aligned with my own personal views, but in a way that could be logically followed as a rational reaction to The Truth. But the past few years have just time and again shown me how willing the masses are, nay, how eager they are, to avoid using any hint of the critical thought processes they may have rattling around in their heads. Or even to prioritize. How is it possible to sacrifice a dozen other things you may believe in (for example, education, job security, healthcare, etc.) for a single solitary issue (perhaps abortion or 'security')? It just doesn't make any sense. And hence the only conclusion I can see is that the American Public, en masse, is highly unlikely to act in its own best interests, much less anyone else's. But maybe I'm not really that cynical. If Bono can still believe, maybe I can too. Carrie's suggestion ain't bad - Barack does make my heart go pitter pat.


Anonymous Sid said...

Well, it was more hurt than chastising... I count on you for certain things, and it was just surprising when you deviated from what I expect.

People will, in fact, act in their own best interests, hon. But masses, they practically move in geological time... how many years of culture were necessary before we created democracy? How many years after slavery before we truly fought for equal rights? It's frustrating, but sooner or later, even society becomes a revolutionary society. Maybe Jefferson (or Mao) was right about a cultural revolt being necessary every twenty years...

As frustrating as it is, though, there are plenty of bright spots out there. Just as our generation backlashed against the hippie culture of our parents (well, maybe not you), you can already see how the next generation is backlashing against this blind-following of ideology and against the unjustifiable bigotry that seems to get propogated...

So yeah. Even Jesus doubted, sometimes. Yet trust that the American Dream hasn't, in fact, forsaken you.

(And damn you for making me the cheerleader of hope here.)


11:40 AM  

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