Friday, May 4, 2012

Pendulums / It's That Time Again

It’s that time, once again, for a short talk about Pendulums and how they work. A pendulum is attached to a fixed point, which, for the purpose of this discussion, we shall label the 12 o’clock, or, “noon” position. The pendulum, when left alone, hangs straight down, in what we shall refer to as the 6 o’clock position. That is the center of its gravity. It is also the beginning point for any deviation which might occur, causing the pendulum to swing to either the left, or right. This is healthy, as that is what pendulums do. They swing, in a predictable arc. But what happens when it swings too far, either to the right, or to the left?
In politics, we have the Pendulum of Democracy, which works best when swinging back and forth, over a period of time, while never exceeding a point further than half way up either side. Think of it as a clock face. When the hour hand goes too far right, passing the 3 o’clock position; or too far left, passing the 9 o’clock position; we are in trouble.
Examine the role of the Pendulum in history. When the Pendulum is straight down, at 6 o’clock, things are going well, though a bit stagnant. Kind of like the 1950’s. When the Pendulum swings to the left there is usually some kind of social change driving that motion. And, when that Pendulum starts to swing too far to the left, the gravity inherent to that situation is usually enough to bring it back to the six o’clock position. The same is true of the Pendulum when it swings too far to the right.

Two great examples of the Pendulum swinging out of control occurred in the 20th century, and as such, should still be fresh in most people’s minds, if not their memories. The first example is the Russian Revolution, which put the Communists in power for 70 long years, plunging that country into a darkness which overtook all thought and reason. That out of control swing was to the left, and gave us leaders like Joseph Stalin and the millions of deaths at his hands.
The second occurrence was the rise of the Nazi’s to power in Germany. That event also sucked all thought and freedom from the population. It also gave us Adolph Hitler, who; with his out of control swing rightward; also piled up millions of deaths.

So, the question is this; which is best; a swing too far to the right or a swing too far to the left?
The answer, of course, is that neither extreme is healthy.  What is the difference between Stalin and Hitler? A few million bodies is all that separates them.

Are these extreme examples? Not really. Just look back through history and you will see that the Pendulum has been an indicator of freedom for thousands of years. And how does this apply to us, here and now?
This election year will take its usual course, with folks on both sides urging you to support a swing to either the far left, or the far right. They will disguise their intentions; clothed as they are; behind the flag, or the Bible. You will be bombarded with vitriol concerning Gay Marriage Amendments, Abortion, and all manner of other social issues, designed to take your eyes “off the ball”, so to speak. Don’t be fooled.

The issues which concern us most, as a nation, go far beyond those “window dressing” topics. The economy, the wars, the health care debate; these are the real issues. And, as you ponder your beliefs, be sure to think about that Pendulum of Democracy. And remember this; when the Pendulum has swung too far in either direction, you may not be allowed to think at all.

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