Waiting for the Big One

We seem to be a flawed people. Call it Original Sin, genetic disposition, poor herd instincts—whatever—but we have a darker side that from time to time just flashes at us, from time to time explodes. We see the worst of it in examples like Nazi Germany, in Rwanda, in Kosovo. We see the little flashes in our herd reaction to things like the current H1N1 “crisis”, when thousands of people seem on the verge of losing their grip. You start to see that, while many people do behave rationally, as a herd there seems to be a fine line separating us from lynch mobs and swarmings.

Part of the trouble is that we like it. No doubt, our great successes are too few; the causes for celebrations are too few. We get a glimpse of what we could be with the pleasure and excitement of the Torch Relay crowds, but even that we smear with allegations (or probabilities?) of political interference and manipulation. The dark side seems always there.

If our loves go well, we seem content to keep it to ourselves. If things go wrong, we want to sing it, wail it, publish it. It’s not just confined to country music that most songs are of love lost, though that field does go to excess (“What do you get when you play a country record backwards? You get your woman back, your dog back, and your truck back!).
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