Put two rabbis in a room and you’ll get l0 different opinions about the Talmud. Put two golfers in a bar and you’ll get 20 different opinions about putting. Put a husband and wife in a home, and there’s no telling how many different opinions you’ll get. Textbooks refer to this as democracy. It’s also known as the mild insanity of: On-the-other-handing every subject in sight!
Churchill famously remarked: “It’s been said democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others which have been tried.” He went on to fight Hitler’s maniacal fascism as democracy’s greatest threat in the world. After winning the War, democracy at home turned him out of office. He had years to re-consider if perhaps democracy itself is its greatest threat.
Often it’s the “demos” [the citizens themselves] which are the threat. Their reeds-in-the-wind opinions in a constant state of changing from one-hand to the other. True, there are those whose cocksure opinions never change; they’re usually known as ideologues with a single worldview until, dammit, the day I die. That leaves most of the rest of us “demos;” like you and me, tend to buy into the last well-argued argument we hear.
To test this proposition consider television’s (1) weeknight courtroom dramas (2) Sunday morning’s Washington interviews. Check the pulse of your emotions as you listen first to the prosecution’s closing argument and then defendant’s, shifting with each persuasive on-the-other hand being pitched to the jury. Or check that pulse as you listen to those on-the-other-handing officials being grilled by the network’s Sunday reporters.
If you don’t feel yourself being swayed by each of the on-the-other-hands…well, you may consider yourself a to-the-death ideologue. If on the other hand you feel yourself being swayed by each successive on-the-other-hand…you’re probably another confused citizen who’s final choice may simply be the final hand. True, from politicians to prescriptions, cars to careers, stocks to sex.
The same citizens who cheered Churchill in 1945…threw him out of office that same years…brought him back in 1948…then allowed him to spend the rest of his years writing about both “hands” to this phenomenon we call democracy. Here in 2012 we get another chance to choose one of them.
Filed under: Uncategorized