Thursday, September 27, 2007

Front-running is making America wheeze

Few things define Americans as well as success - or, at least, love for success. If someone or something is successful, legions of admirers will follow. A rich person automatically has lots of friends and a strong support network. A sports team at the top of its game will have its colors worn across the country. Many people in committed relationships find themselves in constant temptation, because desirability is contagious.

Of course, a rich person who loses everything becomes an isolated object of ridicule and derision. A first-to-worst sports team not only loses much of its luster, but steadfast fans become objects of ridicule by those who jumped ship. A person in a dry patch love-wise often enters a vicious cycle that makes them increasingly unattractive to potential suitors.

Sadly, life is like that. We pull for the front-runners while putting down the disadvantaged. Everybody loves a winner, right? And everyone hates a loser. In today's America, you're either 16-0 or 0-16. No one is 8-8 anymore.

This polarized thinking is typified in our leadership. The Bush administration has an attitude of, "We're either all right or all wrong. And we aren't wrong." Which, of course, is why they enjoyed 90 percent popularity in a time of crisis, and polled at 27 percent once the public realized the disaster inherent in their policies.

The "with us or against us" attitude brought forth by this regime has exacerbated the already unfortunate fickleness that Americans possess. It's become virtually the only way we're able to latch onto anything, be it friends, associates, sports teams or love. We're so afraid of failure - or worse, to be associated with anything less than perfect - that we're unable to see the strength in believing in something worthwhile that occasionally shows weakness.

By now you may be asking, "Is he making an argument that we shouldn't jump ship from the Dubya bandwagon because they are now at a low point?" No, I'm not. There's a significant difference between criticizing someone for their deliberate actions and doing so because they may or may not be succeeding. Even if the war in Iraq was a triumph, I would still not support it because it was an illegal invasion done on false pretenses. Conversely, if the cause was strong, but the outcome was the same as it is now, I'd support staying the course. An astute observer is able to separate victory from virtue.

Still, maybe we ought to admit that nobody is perfect. No one is all right or all wrong, and not everything/everyone is worth abandoning just because it/they aren't at the top of their game. Anyone who tries and means well - even in the face of setback and failure - is one deserving of support, regardless of outcome. New Orleans Saints fans get it, and so should the rest of America. Maybe then we'd have less of a Top-40 mentality and a more accurate gauge of what's worthwhile.

Life ebbs and flows. When it's in the right place, support never should.

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