Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Leader of the Pack
Dancer with a tail.
I am loving the fact that Barack and Michelle will spend Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the day before the inauguration, volunteering. They've said they wish we Americans would celebrate the day as originally intended, as a day of national service. If the president can do it, we can do it, yes? Oh yeah!!
Homo sapien is a social predator, not unlike canines, for instance. We instinctively look to our leader to show us how to be, how to live. As a species we are in love with royalty, military leaders, chiefs, warriors. Some of us are born to be kings, most of us are more comfortable following. We are in love with the idea of "the best" because "the best" and "the most powerful" people set philosophical and behavioral templates we can follow. Tucked deep into the primal brainstem is the belief that if we do as our leader tells us to do, we will be safe.
Organizing ourselves according to pack hierarchy is human nature, which is why I am so grateful that very soon Obama will be our president. Because he is a decent person, a calm, thoughtful, caring human being. It's a brand new American behavioral template. I believe the coming year will be quite chaotic for a lot of reasons, among them the fact that our new leader is not the dufus we've lived with for the past eight years.
I could get into a whole thing about how evolutionary it is to try to work in more egalitarian forms, how our democracy, for instance, is our attempt to move beyond pack mentality. But just for today, I'm resting easy in my brainstem, grateful and proud that we've elected Obama. May every American become more thoughtful, more decent, more caring. So may it be!
Sidewalk quilt, with shadow.