Tyrants R Us

The three-year old child figures out early on that, if he wants something - a juice, a toy, some attention - that all he needs to do is cry or throw a tantrum and most times, in an effort to appease him and regain a sense of quiet, the adults will willingly provide him the source of his immediate desire.

Life has a way, most times, of undoing the damage done to the child by providing harsh lessons in entitlement. "It isn't wrong to want things," Life instructs the child. "It is wrong to think that the best way to get them is to throw a fit. Sometimes, instead of grease, the squeaky wheel gets his ass handed to him." And in the best cases, Life Lessons take hold.

For many, however, the lessons fall on deaf ears. Years of screaming, crying, whining, and throwing fits rewarded with results tend to create entitled, angry, petulant adults. As if the mere idea of a person's discomfort and desire for satisfaction earns him the right to have everyone around him leap to appease the screamer if only to have a moment of peace. But that peace comes at a price. Once the tantrum thrower gains from the tantrum, it is twice as hard to dissuade him from employing the self same tactic for everything.

We see this in day-to-day customer service situations (and anyone who has worked behind the Customer Satisfaction Counter or Phone Line anywhere recognizes these people); we see it in our negotiations with people in public spaces (I am offended by _____ therefore everyone around me should cease to _____ ); we see it in our modern political debates.

These people are dictators by our own making. We empower them by capitulating to their demands. The angry man demanding his latte be made in a set amount of time is seeking a reaction - deny him one and it is easier the next time he decides to demand something. The activist that demands that abortion be outlawed or that gas-fueled cars be banned will eventually run out of steam if ignored. The media encouraged the Pro-Trumps by bending to their every whine, every gripe, every poorly attended rally as if giving them some credence would mollify them - as with all petulant, angry children, the attention fueled the fire. On the other side of the Ideological Fence, the media tried ignoring the relatively peaceful protests of BLM to no avail. Because BLM folks aren't throwing a tantrum - they are making a stand. For the TeaBillies, it is a War Against Anyone Unlike Themselves; BLM align themselves with everyone against a tiny but incredibly powerful minority.

And this incredibly powerful minority rules not because they are white, or male, or hate America but because their only agenda is making more money for themselves at the expense of everyone else (Pro-Trumps included).

They are in that position because, like the tantrum throwing three-year old, we let them get there. Who among the 99% will do away with the convenience of inserting the bank card in the machine and having money come out? Who among the 99% will do away with heat for their homes, electricity for their computers and forego their vehicles for walking or riding a bike? The response the minority of Ridiculous Wealth requires is for us to buy the things they sell - convenience, access, ease. And we reward their selling us out on gambling and cheap overseas labor by purchasing their products.

Life has taught these people that we will do exactly what they want as long as we are distracted by distractions - race issues, educational issues, Dancing with the Stars, and the next, cool gadget - and we will quickly forget about their tantrums because we become the whiny, bitchy three-year old children in the equation and they are more than happy to oblige us our worst natures.

So, who exactly is the tyrant here?

We made them; they made us. We fuel their control by continuing to finance them with each purchase or oil-guzzling trip; they fuel our desire by creating and advertising all the new, shiny, shit they have to sell.

Bob Fisher once turned me on to the concept of the Ouroboros:

The Ouroboros (or Uroborus) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The name originates from within Greek language; οὐρά (oura) meaning "tail" and βόρος (boros) meaning "eating", thus "he who eats the tail"

and I think the image of self cannibalism applies to the relationship we have with our tyrants and they to us.  It signals a state where we are ALL responsible for the state of things and the easy blaming of one group, ideology, race, or religious cult is a vast oversimplification that cannot sustain itself under scrutiny.

I believe the best way to start 2017 is to simply acknowledge that none of us is exempt from blame in this circumstance.  That before we point the dirty finger at THEM (which can be defined as anyone who looks, acts, or lives differently than the pointer), stop, figure out how we enable the three-year old his power and take it away.