Friday, October 30, 2020


In every large group there exists a smaller core of those who are intensely committed and active. It could be at your place of worship, the school PTA, your neighborhood association. Sometimes they are motivated by pure devotion, sometimes one sees hints of desire for acclaim or a need for control. At any rate, we all know the phenomenon. I once went to a small church where the same seven or so people did everything. They lamented the fact that other people didn’t step up. On the other hand,they were fiercely invested in being “in charge”.

Over the last few days I’ve been reading about happenings at the Wilde Lake High School polling place. It occurs to me that if you are in the inner circle of Columbia/HoCo’s political world, you may have been opining about this nonstop. You’ve read and discussed every nuance on social media. If you aren’t, it could be completely invisible to you.

In short: one candidate’s signs were vandalized. Also, the behavior of a person electioneering was experienced by some as aggressive and off-putting. 

This has generated a firestorm of social media activity that has bounced from page to page and group to group. The same accusations are leveled, screenshots are shared without permission, allies defend their compatriots or attack the other side.

When we care a lot about something, and invest a lot of ourselves in it, then the things that occur within that sphere are intensely important to us. That’s only natural. But is there a point at which it becomes hyper magnified? Can we lose perspective?

And what does that mean for the other folks who exist outside of the circle of intense interest? Do we even forget that they are there, sometimes? Is it possible to move from “dedicated to a cause” to “cut off from everything else” and not recognize it is happening?

When does it stop being about communicating a cause to the greater community and become an all-consuming fight to the death against the operatives on the other “team”? And, when it does, are we sacrificing our long term goals by going all out to win the short term battle?

I’m full of questions today. If you have answers, you know where to send them. I’d be happy to entertain more questions, too. But don’t bring me the same arguments I’ve been reading on Facebook. Please address the nature of this post if you want to join the conversation.

I was once waiting to be treated at the ER at Yale New Haven on Memorial Day weekend. Suddenly all hell broke loose. It seems that some injured victims from a drunken brawl at a holiday picnic had been brought in as a group and had restarted the fight as soon as they arrived at the emergency room. 

Let’s not do that.

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