I think it’s safe to assume that all 7.594 billion people in the world witnessed or at least heard of the mind-boggling and horrific events that went down on January 6th in the name of so-called “democracy.” No, this wasn’t a revolution, and if you insist that it was and are unwilling to read on, or if you are offended by my choice not to call it a revolution, please click on the “x” on the top right corner (or left if you have a Mac) of your browser and exit my blog. Yes, this is a non-partisan space, but it’s also a common-sense space. The attack on Capitol Hill was, quite frankly, a shit show. But let’s rewind for a moment and talk about how America got here. I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet, but as you all know, I really enjoy the sound of the clickity-clack my fingers make every time they hit the keyboard.
They’re taking our freedoms away! Open your eyes!
Inspired by Retired General Rick Hillier and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I concluded that there are three types of people in North America: the routine-type, the change-junkie-type, and the go-with-the-flow-type. In its most basic form, a government’s primary job is to keep the peace among these three groups – if we don’t consider corruption, personal agendas and other factors. However, there has to be an understanding that each group has to give up some of their comforts to accommodate the other. Furthermore, realistically there will always be some who lose, and some who benefit from policy and certain changes as Prime Minister Harper pointed out in his book, Right Here, Right Now. This is the nature of the beast we call Life. The second objective for a government is to keep the number of losers at a minimum (Harper, 2019). Let’s explore these types of world-class people. **Please don’t read too much into the word “loser”. I don’t mean it as a derogatory term; rather, to note one’s social or economic losses as a result of policy changes or unforeseen circumstances.
Routine type: Don’t touch my life
Prime Minister Harper calls these folks the “Somebodies.” For the most part, these types of people tend to be born in one place, live in the same place, marry from the same culture – and likely from the same place – work one job or have one career in their lifetime, and have never travelled or travelled only to Cuba and maybe one city in the US and now think they’re cultured. They commonly come from more rural and unchanged parts of North America and enjoy the peaceful, mundane, day-in-day-out lifestyle. Nowadays, people refer to them as Rednecks, Hillbillies, Alt-right-Conservatives, among other names.
A savorless people, gulping tasteless food and sitting afterward, coatless and thoughtless, in rocking chairs prickly with inane decorations, listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles, and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world.Carol Kennicott, Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis (Iyengar, 2011, p.81)
Certainly, Carol is an unforgiving character in Lewis’ book, Main Street, consumed by her own culture shock as she moves to the “country” with her husband. The takeaway here is that these folks routinely work this country’s economy. They may lead a simple life, but their simple life is reliable and important nonetheless. They’re comfortable in this unchanged world they built for themselves outside the metropolitans and suburban borders. So when change creeps in, like the introduction of a massive commercial centre or university, for example, it’s almost comparable to animals in the forest watching human developers bulldozing their trees and “diversifying” the “wild”.
People on this side of the social spectrum tend to be dangerous when perturbed. Don’t poke the bear would be an appropriate saying when dealing with Somebodies. They have the tolerance level of an infant, if at all, and they’re super dangerous when they feel the change or diversity creeping into their small town is about to affect their way of life. Paranoia and conspiracy theories are common among these folks – this doesn’t mean conspiracy theories are always wrong, by the way. When triggered, these folks go from God-fearing Christians to full-blown, Jesus-died-for-the-sins-I’m-about-to-commit. Honestly, there is no ifs, ands or buts with these folks. The best way to propose any form of change to Somebodies is by proposing it in tiny increments; micro-changes.
Change-Junkie type: Just one more hit
Hahaha! I have to laugh because I have a bone to pick with change-junkies. What’s the hurry? Billy Holiday’s already told you Vienna’s waiting for you. Y’all need to scale it back a little because you look like overdosed coke-heads on a gallon of Redbull. Your need for progressive change to happen overnight will cause you to crash and burn, and eventually, when the Trumpublicans go back home feeling defeated, the focus will be to shut you up next.
General Rick Hillier coined the term Change-Junkie in his book, Leadership, to those who don’t think an organization or a society is doing enough. They think they’re progressive because they constantly want change, but the change they want comes from an entitled and selfish place. They’re dangerously unsettled and terribly annoying. They highjack movements when they think organizers are not moving fast enough, and their MO is to scream, break things and cry like a toddler. These people can be country- or city-mice; they can come from rural areas where they had grown restless and embarrassed by their families or city kids who had grown up feeling like they received the short end of the life stick. They’ll “ally” civil rights movements to mask their resentment and, frankly, laziness, and say they’re in it for the greater good. The only good they’ve ever done is get out of their parents’ basement for fresh air. No offence, but nine times out of ten, these are societal-privileged, white hipsters whose parents probably didn’t show them enough love. Almost. Every. Single. Time. Folks, these people are commonly known today as the Alt-left-liberals or Alt-Progressives, and they need a serious reality check.
Go-With-The-Flow type: …Meh…
This is us! You are here! X marks the spot! There’s not much to say about us except that we’re a boring bunch and Prime Minister Harper calls us the Anybodies. General Hillier refers to us as the 70% or the happy medium. We can be living in rural or urban areas, but you’ll mostly find us cruising in suburbs and working in big cities. Most importantly, however, we’re the ones who decide which way the political and social pendulum swings. In other words, we’re the silent majority (except me because I don’t remember the last time I was silent about anything). We’re the ones who see common sense in having a bit of conservatism and gradual – and healthy – progressive change. Typically, we’re socially liberal and fiscally conservative. We have empathy for both sides of the spectrum and trust we can mediate. We’re known as the Anybodies because when things start to go south or stale, we have the tools, resources and capacity to change our own paths, pick up and leave if we have to because we’re adaptable to change. Typically, we’re immigrants, educated, well-travelled, and open-minded. The Somebodies and Change-Junkies will campaign to win our support, especially during political events or elections. Our duty is to see through their bullshit and make effective decisions for our country’s greater good.
Capitol Hill Riots
Fear is a path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.Yoda, Star Wars – Episode I (1999)
I hope you’re beginning to see how America turned into Murica over the last five years now that you understand the types of people who live here. The introduction of technology exposed much of the alt-right and alt-left to one another and (likely unintentionally) triggered a holy war. President Trump recognized the value (his value) in exploiting social media to incite fear in simple folks who were once ignorant of what was happening outside their town borders. He capitalized on that fear and allowed it to grow out of control. Whether intentional or not, although we can agree today on the former, President Trump managed to create a platform with his social media credentials for Somebodies to see Change-Junkies push for outrageous reforms, and for Change-Junkies to see Somebodies react to these reform proposals. Both completely intolerant of one another, calling each other racists, xenophobes, Nazis, leftists, communists, bla, bla, and bla. This online battle eventually developed over the years to the streets and turned into what we saw on January 6th, The Capitol Hill Riots. Check out my post, Left or Right? Which Way to Go?, for more on my views on technology.
Populist is what President Trump called himself; a populist within the established Republican Party. It’s sad, really, because populism is definitely needed in the world to keep governments honest when things go poorly, and it seems like President Trump hindered its purpose and reputation. We had seen the positive outcomes of populism in Iceland in 2012, and parts of the Middle East. By contrast, there have been many times when populism took a nasty turn; for example, the Holocaust and most recently the Trumpublican populist movement. The two most important ingredients to a good populist movement are the right leader and the right cause. Is The United States government corrupt, and does this corruption need to be exposed? Perhaps. Admit it, that would have been some juicy exposé! And if this was the right cause, was President Trump the right leader for the movement? In 2016, you may have thought… meh… perhaps. Today, we most definitely can say that he was not and will never be the right leader for a populist movement in the United States of America. There may be a time where a populist leader will correct the wrongs of America, but today is not that time and President Trump is not that leader. In God We Trust. Right, America?
Harper, S. (2019). Right here, right now: Politics and leadership in the age of disruption. Toronto, Ontario: Doubleday Canada.
Hillier, R. (2011). Leadership: 50 points of wisdom for today’s leaders. Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins Canada.
Iyengar, S. (2011). The art of choosing. New York, NY: Twelve.