Saturday, January 2, 2016

We the Weaklings

Ah but always remember one thing all ye weak and downtrodden cripples and all ye uncrippled citizens who have nevertheless been rendered as weak as cripples (in the political sense). When ye are feeling irrevocably squashed down and powerless, take heart. Remind yourself that we still have shame on our side.

Therein lays the great power of weakness.

Consider the following fable as a political metaphor, if you will: An intersection. A pedestrian and an automobile arrive at the same time. Both stop. An awkward pause ensues. Who wins the standoff? On paper it’s no contest. Man versus car? Ha! The Vegas oddsmakers would put it at about 100,000 to 1. A big old car will flatten a scrawny little pedestrian pretty much every time. But it’s not all about brute force. When you factor in shame, it’s a whole new ballgame. Thus, brute force yields and the pedestrian wins the standoff and proceeds across the street unscathed. Why? Shame. That’s what keeps the driver from just running over the pedestrian. Shame. Well actually, what keeps the driver from just running over the pedestrian is the fact that he/she will probably spend a good while in prison if they do. But why are there such laws in the first place? Shame. If you assert your brute force to run over pedestrians with your car just because you can, you’re an asshole. You’re an asshole to a criminal degree.

Or how about that Tiananmen Square guy, the one who stood in front of the tank? The oddsmakers would probably go about a zillion to one there because that one was man versus tank for God’s sake! But the man won that round at least, thanks again to shame. The tank driver stopped because the greater the power imbalance, the higher the shame factor. If you assert your brute force to run over a pedestrian with your tank, you’re really really really an asshole, even in China.

There is great strength in weakness. So when we the weaklings get together an sit down in the streets in protest and stop traffic, we harness the power of shame. Or when we sit down in the rotundas. The weaklings are in control. This is especially true when cripples get together and sit down in the streets because cripples are the symbol of weakness. And anybody who runs over a bunch of cripples with their car will redefine what it means to be an asshole. All future acts of assholishness will be measured against that one.

Put brute force on notice, dear political weaklings, that we are all packing the potent weapon of shame. And we’re not afraid to use it.

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