January 8, 2021-
My parents taught us to pay attention to the small stuff- an untied shoe lace, a door left ajar when the baby was in the room, a whirling fan-under the same circumstances, a screw or nail left in the driveway. Such attention to detail caught me up short a few times, in my distracted adolescence, but has served me quite well, in adulthood-especially of late.
Would, that this were true of society-at-large. How often, in the past ten years or so, has someone loudly pointed everyone’s attention to an extraneous distraction, while helping self to public funds or quietly changing rules and regulations that impact the little guy, often severely? How often are people paying more attention to Twitter, Facebook Live or Instagram, than to the life that is right in front of them? How often has someone been doing a fairly complex task, only to let self be discombulated by a phone call or Instant Message pings, from someone who just wants attention?
The distractions in our lives, which have only become more numerous and more insistent, even as our ways of dealing with real problems have become more efficient, are akin to someone sticking their head in a bucket of water, and somehow not knowing enough to pull it out-until it’s tool late-or nearly so. Demagogues and tyrants know this, as do rapacious salespeople, pickpockets and all manner of con-men. I’ve used the analogy of shellfish in a pot of water, before, and it’s the same process.
The noises are going to get louder, the stories more outlandish, the threats more ominous-and the need for vigilance from ordinary citizens, more crucial, over the next two weeks. Let’s keep our heads out of the buckets. January 6 may well have been just a dress rehearsal.