Saturday, November 7, 2009
One By One
Halloween is over now. I can tell because stores have taken down the candy and put up the Christmas displays. I recognize it as well because I can now no longer watch all of the cheesy horror movies that were being played back to back on broadcast and cable TV.
You know the ones that I am talking about. They start with a diverse and often unrelated group of people either finding themselves on or in a house, castle, ship, island, cave, spaceship, etc; usually in search of some unnamed wealth or fame. Once there, they discover that the reward that they were seeking was either unavailable or not all it was cracked up to be and that instead what they are facing a challenge that they neither sought, nor are prepared to deal with. Realizing that their fate may not be what they dreamed of and that the world that they have found themselves in is fraught with danger, they discover that it will take all that they can give merely to survive this experience. Such however, is not to be the case for most. One by one, their frailties and personal foibles are exposed, making them vulnerable to the danger around them. Foolishly failing to recognize that their only strength is in unity both in person and of purpose, they wander about individually and one by one they lose their gamble and their lives to the hazards that surround them.
And in so many of those films, there are likewise those complicit with the evil, searching for purely personal gain as the reward to betrayal of their fellows. They are easily recognizable by their smiling faces and false pronouncements seeking only the safety of all. Almost as evil as that with which they are allied, it is of little surprise when it's discovered that all they seek is the advancement of their own situation. I have often wondered what madness possesses these people to allow themselves to be placed in such positions in the first place (though in some movies, such placement is strictly accidental). I have wondered why once finding themselves in such peril, they treated it with such denial and aplomb; recklessly ignoring the threats to their health, their security, and in fact their very lives. Surely vanity or greed can play a role in the taking such risks, but could any be foolish enough to believe that any reward could be accomplished without real labor and the accompanying risks.
I begin to understand it more these days however. In these heady times of bailout and stimulus, it begins to become more clear. How in these times of government bailout of private industry "too big to fail" can anyone fail to believe in a lack of consequence for bad decisions and hugely inappropriate risk-taking? In this period when legislators rigorously defend those who gambled on both the economy and the housing market to protect themselves from the tragically bad real estate decisions, should we not believe that such risky behavior is justified?
Such is the plot it appears, that we now find ourselves in. It is reality however, where we find ourselves discovering this dangerous challenge. And while some have consciously sought to dare the fates, many others appear to have simply blundered into this world, oblivious to the situation they now find themselves in and uncaring of the consequences. Still others, mostly ordinary people attempting to lead ordinary lives, are only now waking up to the seriousness of the times and the reality of the threat to such an existence.
As in those tired films, the danger seeks to separate us in order to achieve its end. Fearing defeat from a united front, it continually attempts to divide us by race, by religion, by income, and even by opportunity. Seeking to thwart any attempt to come together as either criminal or futile, that danger seeks to keep us at odds with each other to achieve our individual demise. Likewise using the tool of those weakest among us to its own ends, this impending doom continues to make use of such cowards, rascals, and charlatans as put themselves forward for such efforts. Neither effort must be permitted to succeed.
It is time to put an end to this poorly written B-movie plot, time to end this shoddy bit of cinema. We can no longer permit ourselves to be the victims in this tragic melodrama. Time indeed to throw out the villains, bridge the separations, and win back our lives before someone rolls the final credits. For if we do not do so, we will surely find that the evil that many of us so now fear has picked us off one by one.