Friday, September 7, 2007

The Selection Process; Natural or Considered?

Many Americans love to dismiss the French as ungrateful for what we've done for them when they were in great need, WWII for example, or call them old Europe as Rumsfeld did. In today's vernacular that would be translated as "so last century". I'm lousy at remembering facts and statistics, but I seem to remember that their recent voter turnout for the highest office in their land was at a level that is the envy of all democracies. Only tyrannies which pretend to be democracies by holding rigged elections, exceed what we saw in France recently.

I make no case for their judgement, knowing next to nothing about their chosen one. But I was impressed by the size of their voter turnout. If we Americans turned out to vote in 2000 and 2004 in those numbers, I suspect that we would be dealing with very different issues today.

I was put off though by the new French president's need to kiss the ring of the American President by conveniently deciding to vacation near where our Pope Wannabe was enthroned.

The new French leader, the new British leader, the new German leader, the new Israeli leader, and other new so-called leaders before them, seem drawn, as moths to flame, to an audience with George W. Bush, whose narcissism is so frighteningly evident that he makes the Pope appear humble.

Such seems to be the power of whoever is President of the United States. But it's not the person, it's the position the person happens to hold at the time. She or he could be an idiot, as were some of the kings and queens of other cultures, and still be viewed and considered as worthy of respect, not for who they were as persons, but because they, for a time, had ascended to the top position in their particular tribes.

Even after more than two hundred years divorced from the Europe of Kings and Queens before whom the citizenry bowed and worshiped, we, as a species, have not yet thrown off that gene, meme or instinct to bow before the Alpha Male, the current occupant of the most powerful position in the tribe.

I suspect that this instinct has far deeper roots. Humans seem to exhibit similar behavior to those of animals who form packs, troops and tribes. In those communities which are patriarchal, there is an Alpha Male who, by competition, wins the allegiance of his subjects. Though matriarchal societies are not the norm, one would expect that the Alpha Female would be awarded similar obeisance.

Creationists are not likely to give these thoughts credence, since to do so is tantamount to acknowledging that such a connection to the past, genetically or memetically is valid.

If I were ever put in the position of meeting George W. Bush, according to the manners I was taught, and expected social obligation, I would accept his hand shake. However I hope I would have the guts and presence of mind to whisper to him, "I am shaking the hand of the president of the United States, the country I love; but don't take it personally".

It has to do with my view, as stated in the profile of my Blog, that respect should be limited to those who demonstrate that they are an authority on important things of life, not simply because they, for a time, occupy a position of authority.

Lighthouse Keeper

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