Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Obligations of Those Seeking Change


As I sit on the terrace outside my balcony overlooking the Aegean wondering what to write about this week, I’m tempted to do a photo essay that once again shows off the existing beauty of Mykonos.  Maybe next week.

My mind keeps wandering to a subject that seems all so obvious and insidious to our times, yet is blindly missed or dismissed by so many.

Perhaps I see it so clearly because I’m older.  Not wiser, older.

We are all so manipulated in so many ways that it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between truth and outright fiction…or for many, to even care whether there is a difference as long as their right (or left) buttons are appropriately pushed.

This isn’t about the US Presidential elections, the Philippine elections, the Austrian elections, the Putin coronations, or even the Brexit vote.  And certainly not about cable TV news coverage. That would be far too obvious.

I’m talking about day-to-day issues that impact a community at its roots, subtly, slowly and inexorably changing the very nature of the society as a whole.  They begin not with a bold declaration, but as a favor or a wink of an eye to someone of influence.  Then comes another and yet another favor, with perhaps a palliative measure offered along the way to those who complain loudly enough so that they might claim victory to their constituencies even as the favors continue.

What bothers me most about that longstanding politics as usual cycle is when those of goodwill are drawn into the charade, for they will be forever discouraged by the experience from later supporting the few true prophets of change.

It is oh so very easy to wrap oneself in a flag or hot button issue and rally those who truly care behind buzzwords.  To paraphrase Field of Dreams, “Just say the words and they will come.”

But to do what?  If the goal is to achieve real change, those rallying support must start by stating the facts honestly and openly, without carving out exceptions from the scope of their criticism for their own favorites and patrons.  Nor can they offer remedies they know full well will change nothing; that is unless they want to embolden their purported adversaries and discourage those who truly care.

Sometime bulldozers—that’s plural—are the only answer.

And for those of you who think this has anything to do with a petition circulating around Mykonos these days, I can’t imagine why you’d think that.

PS.  Happy Birthday, Egidio.


  1. Society (ie, the statistical 'average' of all the people therein) does drift, each new generation not knowing what's come before, thinking their experience is all new, different from their parents. And so they don't understand the dangers of the decisions they make, the stands they take. And so do great civilizations rise and fall. It's sad and wondrous at the same time.

    But don't get me started on philosophy...

    Just don't sign the petition. Little good ever comes of petitions. When action is needed, it takes two hands, not just one.

    1. I'm glad you didn't get started on philosophy, EvKa, it would have ruined your image around here of being just a pretty face.

  2. It's amazing to me how few people were taught, growing up, to think for themselves and investigate the facts before forming opinions. My parents taught me not to take the world at face value, or to adopt an opinion as truth before looking at the reality. It has been quite the wake-up call for me, as an adult, to learn that not everyone was taught to operate that way.

  3. Watching what goes on with Republican politicians and pundits over here is horrifying. And many of their followers don't look at the facts, or really, they don't let the facts get in the way.

    Watching arguments with people who don't read decent newspapers or watch news programs, who say things that fly in the face of reality is maddening.

    Or those who agree with or don't object to the worst bigotry is mind-boggling and also maddening. How is this still the case 150 years after the Civil War? 70 years after WW II?

    How does this ignorance and bigotry still exist?

    Yes, it's great that young people have changed the dynamics and accept diversity. But how hurtful is it to millions of people to hear this vile stuff day in and day out on TV?

    However one chooses to oppose this -- just do it. Work on it. Say something. Do something.