Under Siege
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Under Siege • Posted: Oct 19, 2009 17:19:58Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

It is alarming how many Americans these days exhibit siege mentality. We are a union of folks who have banded together for both the common and greater good. We do not want others to rule us. We prefer to be in charge of our own fate. For many that means starting and running their own companies, sometimes big, most times small. For others it means joining a labor union or signing onto a big organization. For still others, it means working in the public sector as policemen, firemen, teachers, tax collectors, or as government functionaries of innumerable sorts. Our labor is hardly ever of and for ourselves. We interact. What we do is for and about others in one way or another. Even so, an uncomfortable number of citizens among us have taken to viewing the rest of us as the enemy.

We, as the enemy, are contrary, apathetic, unholy, unclean, dishonest, desirous of what others have, willing to steal if given half a chance, ignorant, of the wrong skin color or ethnicity, of the wrong educational background or wrong religion, of the wrong social status, age, sex, or sexual orientation. We, as the enemy, are meat easters or not meat eaters, smokers or non-smokers, drinkers or non-drinkers, pet lovers or not, TV watchers or eggheads, conservatives or liberals, spendthrifts or pinchpennies, gun owners or not. The list is endless. We, the enemy, are endlessly simplified, whittled down to far less than the complicated people we really are, so as to easily fit into a simplified view of an uncomplicated two dimensional world that doesn't really exist. And aside from declaring such anti-social folks mentally ill, there apparently is little to be done for them. Their right to be discomfortingly anti-social is written into the Constitution. We call it freedom.

The remedy, of course, is community. Families, church groups, and even small towns can be extremely oppressive when it comes to cultivating individuality. But they can also be extremely effective in not leaving anyone out of the mix. In one way or anther, everyone gets included into the flow of things. Only where community has failed to include do we find those left behind deciding the rest of us are a hostile bunch that should be cordoned off and avoided at all cost. More folks developing siege mentality would seem a good indication that we as a community are failing to include in meaningful and significant ways. We hurt ourselves in the long run as increasing numbers of those left behind brood away out of sight. Some, unfortunately, will decide to even the score by taking up arms and firing in our direction.

May your thoughts turn to ways to include, instead of reinforcing ways to exclude.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007