The “99%” is simply the latest compliment we are attaching to the vast majority of us. Who, in a democracy, like to think of ourselves as “we the people” nobly proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. Sorry, folks, but as a long-time member of the “99%,” I believe there are less ennobling but more accurate names for us: The Majority…the Masses…the Mob.
Want to see what we “the mob” really look like? Just look at us pushing and shoving in the malls…in the sports stadiums…on the crowded expressways….queuing up for the latest Hollywood hit. Not so impressive looking. What’s more, we’re even unimpressive in impressive settings like marching in Fourth of July parades…filing into churches and temples…holding candle vigils…marching off to war.
Truth be told [few leaders like to use the truth in public], we the 99% are often human herds following the tail of the buttock immediately in front of us. Call it going-with-the-flow or following-our-star, if you like, but in truth, we the 99% are usually just instinctively responding to whatever seems best for us. In the 1960s we sang it this way: If-it-feels-right-how-can-it-be-wrong!
However, when in the name of democracy we the mob operate this way, well human herds can be cow-poked into all kinds of crazy directions. Say, buying the hottest new widget on eBay…the slickest new candidate on the campaign trail…the most mesmerizing new televangelist….the inside-trading stock tip…the latest face we’re told is a singing sensation. Pretty much any damn thing the big boys with the big bucks have decided to woo and wow us with.
Tragically, this can also include wars. Wars against whatever “enemy” we the mob are being advised we must fear. Hitler pied-pipered 60 million Germans that way. Frankly, Lyndon Johnson similarly convinced 250 million Americans Vietnam had attacked us. George Bush said the same about Iraq.
Buying into the latest “wonder widget” is a herd instinct that’s probably harmless. But buying into the latest “enemy” is a mob instinct that’s usually horrific. As a general-president who knew better [Eisenhower] warned: We-the-mob need to be careful we save our righteous furies for the right enemy.
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