Rally ‘Round – sides that matter

By Matthew Monk

In the wake of election season, the factions are gradually cornering themselves off, friends are no longer speaking and the malaise of the grand joke of politics is making ready for the final punchline. In the chaos of social media, (which is having a field day with the election) the conversation often takes the course of, “Which idiot do I vote for?”

Although most will agree they are voting for the “lesser of two evils” or the “less idiotic of the two idiots”…AND most would also agree that the current presidential election resembles a mash-up of bad reality TV meets Barnum and Bailey, meets the Burning Man Festival, most still are tongue lashing one another for the sake of their so-called “rightness”. It begs the question, are we just rally-ers by nature? Or does the speak of a deeper human need? Whatever the case, when the cause is glorified above the human being in front of us, what is the inevitable result?

There’s an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled, “The Monsters are Due on Maple
Street”.

This is the “new” Twilight Zone from the 2000s

although, the classic 1960 episode is awesome as well. In the wake of 9/11 and The War on Terror, this episode was produced.

The plotline is simple: New people move in to a close-knit neighborhood. The neighbors never see the new neighbors. A rumor is started. Everyone in the neighborhood is convinced the new neighbors are “terrorists.” They attempt to take care of the problem angry mob style, complete with torches and pitchforks. AND they all but kill the only man in the neighborhood who tells them they are being unreasonable.

At the end of the episode it is revealed that no one actually lives in the suspicious house. The government was simply running an experiment to see how “everyday people” would react to such a situation.

While the episode is entertaining, it cuts to the core of an essential question: Are we so easily willing to jump on a bandwagon that we will de-humanize those on the other side? Are we so willing to rally around a cause, a political party, an ideal or a belief that we lose sight of the person in front of us? A person is not an idea… An idea is not a person…
rally-2
Yet we rally. We rally around political parties and agendas. We rally around vegan diets and animal rights. We rally around legislation. We rally around bond initiatives. We rally around sports teams. We rally against those opposed to us. We rally against the enemy. We rally for a country. We rally against another country. We rally for a raise in pay. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter. White privilege. Immigration. Terrorism. Surveillance. Go Dolphins! Rally, rally, rally.

But what about the person standing in front of us? What good is all the rallying if it does not meet the need of the people we see every day? In the wake of all of our rallying, in effort to make a grand and sweeping change, we forgot that it is the flutter of butterfly wings that causes the tsunami. So if we’re going to rally, then fine, let’s rally.

Rally. Rally around your neighbor who just got out of the hospital. Rally around your wife who just started a new job. Rally around the kid in your class who’s struggling. Rally around your boss whose management style you loathe. Rally around the people you think have done you wrong and let it go. Rally around the cashier at the grocery store working 40+ hours a week to pay for college. Rally around the grunts turning wrenches in industry. Rally around the man without papers who mows your lawn. Rally around the man cutting suspicious eyes at you when we walk down the street. Rally around the murderer that his healing will be complete. Rally around the rapist and the victim. Rally around the scared young mother at the abortion clinic.

Rally around yourself. Rally around your growth. Rally around the challenge of everything you think you know. Rally around love. It’s the only thing that endures. Rally around the difficulty things that you all will get through. Rally.

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2 Comments

Susan Adcox

Very true! But here’s another truth. We can help the people around us, and that may have some bigger effect — like a pebble tossed in a pond, to be poetic. But to change the lives of the masses of people, we need good policy. We need policy that keeps the grocery checker from graduating from college with $50,000 worth of debt. We need policy that protects the people who mow lawns and turn wrenches. We need policy that aims to rehabilitate the inhabitants of our prisoners. And the only way we can get that kind of policy is to vote. The political process may be messy and dispiriting and annoying, but it’s the only way we have to get where we really need to be.

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Monk

Yes, it’s a good point you make about policy. Certainly if we are to be governed or have a governing body, said body must create policy. I agree that sweeping policy changes are necessary. My purpose here was to point out what seems to be the polarizing nature of creating policy. There needs to be a balance between creating “good policy” and seeing the person in front of us as a person and not an idea. While I think voting is important, voting for a president presents an illusion of choice as the individual citizens’s votes virtually do not count. Although the electoral college is supposed to honor the citizens’s votes and cast theirs accordingly, it is on record that the college does not always comply. In my view, if we are going to tout the “Rock the Vote” banner, we should emphasize the importance of local elections where the voice of constituents is the loudest. Ultimately, policy does not change the hearts of people, although it can help provide adequate support for betterment.

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