Well, today is that day, but I must confess that I already broke the taboo first thing this morning when my CD alarm clock went off. In fact, I’m breaking the taboo right now as I write this. The mere notion that I somehow could have lasted an entire day without it was naïve on my part, but the sad reality is there are many people for whom today is everyday.
Today’s schtick, which I linked to above, though highly thought-provoking, is a very apt metaphor for a much larger geopolitical problem. Too many people make excuses for not listening as well as for not making their voices heard. To bring it extremely close to home, from our log stats we know that many more people read these Chatter pages than the people who add their own comments to them. Why is that? We all have thoughts about topics that are worth expressing. Sadly, this issue transcends the minutiae of our own little subset of society. There are too few people who are willing to speak out even on the most pressing issues facing the world today. Worse still, there are few people who actually listen when folks do speak out.
Back in 1969, then U.S. President Richard Nixon coined the phrase “silent majority” to refer to people who supported the U.S. military presence in Vietnam. Since then, other right-leaning political figures in this country and elsewhere have invoked this silent majority to claim consensus on issues that were clearly out of touch with most people. And sometimes they succeed. Such is the price of a silence response and zoning out what others are actually saying.
To not speak or to not listen is always the wrong thing to do. It’s another form of fasting. My thoughts about fasting of any kind are old news so I’ll only reiterate my view that deprivation is ultimately just deprivation. Granted, perhaps I’m missing something here—admittedly meditation proved impossible for me—but I don’t buy into the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” philosophy. Staying away from something I care about more than anything else for 24 hours, in the final analysis, means that those are 24 hours I’ve lost.