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photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, March 28, 2010

When Squeaky Wheels Just Need To Be Discarded

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease", so the saying goes.

Most of the time, I've thought that meant you need to speak up for yourself in a situation where you otherwise wouldn't get noticed, but lately alot of squeaky wheels have emerged on the religious, social and political scene that are getting greased, as in receiving huge chunks of media-time, in ways that (I hope) the majority of the other members are, if not outright embarrassed by, then at least that causes a slight discomfort in their hearts.

When you have to define your stand WITHIN an organization or group in a way that distances you from what the rest of the world sees, it's time to either change the group from within, or get out.

"I attend Tea Party gatherings, BUT the group I'M in doesn't condone violence, bigotry, or any of that mess".

Really? Because from where the rest of us sit, those things DEFINE the Tea Party Movement.

"I'm a Christian and I believe the Bible is the Word of God- the absolute authority and how I run my life. Dinosaurs aren't mentioned in the Bible, so they never existed".

I'm happy for you and respect your beliefs. Of course, computers aren't mentioned in there either, so you'd better log off of your imaginary screen. And please re-read the part about "Judging not lest..." and stop telling everyone not in your congregation that they're headed straight for hell. Especially my 10 year old son.

I was raised Lutheran. I taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and helped with the Christmas pageant every single year.

At some point, after living about 30 years and noticing the world around me, things I was hearing in church just didn't make sense anymore, and I decided that the grownup thing to do was to leave and try to find Truth that made sense to me, that I could embrace and not only live with, but live BY.

Our world is very small- and made smaller by the internet. We now have the ability to see into every nook and cranny of not only the physical planet, but into the very brains of our fellow humans.

The funny thing about humans is that all this knowledge, all these images and words now in front of us at the click of a mouse, are not widening our horizons so much as polarizing our beliefs.

I'm not fond of heights.

Climb me to the top of a 12' ladder and I'm twitchy.

Drive me to a Scenic Overlook in the mountains and I'm immobilized.

Years ago I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon and peered over the edge.

I was fine.

The Grand Canyon is SO BIG, my tiny human mind couldn't even process the danger and trigger my fear.

This is what's happening today all over the world. People are on their computers, in front of their TV screens and so much is being thrown at their retinas all day, all night, that they're spun into Survival Mode and frantically find something/someone who looks and talks like themselves to latch onto- to steady their brain against the sheer tininess of themselves in the vast sea of humans.

Churches form, political parties rally, social interest groups nebulize. And most of the time, the foundations of all these are good, solid, and reasonably benign.

What happens when small factions 'take over' these groups by being Squeaky Wheels and hogging all the media time? And when the immenseness of the internet and media coverage over-ride your natural inclination to question, to be skeptical, to try to ferret out the truth?

When all you see of Southern Baptists are Klansmen, the world associates the two absolutely.

When all you see of Islam are terrorists flying into buildings, the world associates the two absolutely.

When all you see of Tea Parties are racial posters and calls to violence, the world associates the two absolutely.

Most Southern Baptists are not racists.
Most Muslims are not terrorists.
Most Tea Party members are not violent wackjobs.

Most people are good. I believe that with all my heart. Violence and hatred are not natural to humankind without some sort of "leadership" involvement.

No matter our common belief that every soul is as unique as each and every snowflake, and every person as special as Christmas- humans are herd animals that make wildebeests and lemmings look like rugged individualists.

So the challenge now, at this moment in history, is to take a stand.

Stop having to apologize for members of your chosen peer group. To say "Oh, those are a fringe of our (religion, party, group, nationality)- most of us don't believe that" is to condone what the fringe is doing.

Guilty by association.

Now is the time, and the place, to stand up for crazy things like honesty and integrity, and to fight for all the things humans have the capability to be.

Not via armed battle- two wrongs still don't make a right- but by standing tall and squeaking with all our might so the rest of the world can see that a majority of people are not insane frothing rabid lunatics- and backing that up by getting them OUT of our circles.

Let the insane frothing rabid lunatics trying to overtake every segment of our society get their own clubhouses instead of piggybacking off of and claiming entire groups that flat do not support them.

If the Sane Majority takes a stand and ejects them, the Vocal Minorities will be shown for what they are- small, vulnerable and insignificant- snails without shells.

Slugs.

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