Does nature mock life? I wonder because soon the spectacle of bold gold and ripe red color will turn into heaps and windrows of soggy decaying mulch. How could this art not be an imitation of politics, but without the usefulness of mulch amid the decay? On the plus side we’ve only a few more weeks to endure incessant advertising touting the calorie counting, nutritious, organic, home grown qualities of the opposing candidates. Which one is best for us? Do you prefer the consistency of a granola bar over the excitement of bagged granola? It’s a tough choice, but I think purists prefer the bagged versions as they more perfectly imitate homemade granola mass produced in a home style factory by caring minimum wage workers who don’t particularly care what goes in so long as we keep buying the stuff so they can remain gainfully if unrewardingly employed. And by the way, how’s the preceding for an awful whopper of a sentence?

Having run for a County office I might have a hundredth of one percent more insight into the process than the average voter. Maybe. On the other hand I am pretty darn sure voters were spared the difficulties naturally arising from one like me having any access to power. Even on the smallest level some of us should not be allowed power beyond driving to the store and selecting shoe laces. But even laces can get someone like me into popular difficulty by going tight laced or too loose, and of course there are color choices to say traditional or unconventional by tying pretty laces around the ankle of a bare foot. Not a good winter choice, but attention getting if you go out in public or end up in the ER with toes frozen from trips to the woodshed. Of one thing I am both sure and grateful. It was a great good personal fortune to not have been elected. I may have made some small difference, but the overall system is too large and unyielding to note anything but it’s own snowball roll down the long, long plane of political necessities.

On a local or national level we vote, presumably, based on what we see as best overall. Or is it self-interest we see as best overall? I know I don’t know, but not knowing comes awfully close to not caring which is what an awful lot of voters show by not bothering to cast a ballot at all. They may care, but see no cure so why bother? Those who do care are relative zealots compared to average John and Jane. A zealous follower is not typical of the mass, but they are crucial. They define the mass. Most organizations will say that six percent of the members are the active ones that carry the bulk of the load. Of a hundred people six are the doers who by their doing set the agenda and define the field for the other ninety four. This interesting concept gets more compelling in importance if we factor in what it is the six percent might be advocating. If their creed is peace and love one another they may not rankle the political fur much at all. But if the creed is harsh then doesn’t the otherwise unimportant six percent come into its own to shine with importance most of us will never know or want. A small percentage of love bugs among us can imperceptibly make society a little nicer. A small number of Storm Troopers have an impact on the whole that is felt much differently. You don’t need a majority to sway or topple a majority.

I’ll use a well-worn example; the NAZIs. Estimates have it that around ten percent of Germans were ardent National Socialists. How could so few come to embody so many. and how could they usurp so much power to themselves? The NAZI creed gives a good part of the answer by telling us its aim. What was the aim? Hitler learned that from another movement that achieved much success. The aim was to perpetuate the creed and to look ritually grand in the process. The Hitler salute and the Kowtow are effectively the same and once such a system gets a toe in the door it sets about like a virus marking and expanding. The ardent few know who does a proper Kowtow and who does not. What bad systems do is take away the right of free will and replace it with obedience and stricture. At Nuremburg NAZI higher-ups pled they were “following orders” as their prime defense. Except for the committed followers we can call the others cowards for not having done more to stop or limit abuse. But how would you or I do living in a system that idealizes and rewards awful behavior?
Bad systems make a victim of everyone. The doers become abject pawns with no will and therefore no soul. The followers become participants in the worst and are morally accountable as beneficiaries. The follower did not shoot a single Jew on the way to the rail cars or gas anyone once the survivors arrived at the camp, but the follower did help maintain the rail lines or did move into a vacant property after its former occupants disappeared. In any group, German, Jew, American, or etc. individuals will vary in their generosity or greed, in their love or their fear. A bad system is one that tips the scales for evil and can best be known when we hear explanations for ill using god or duty requiring acts of followers debased by lacking free will and moral character of their own. Pawns and slaves are products of bad systems.

We’ll soon be voting just as red leaves and golden leaves will soon fall and do swirling dances before settling to rest in damp piles that become nutrients for tomorrow. When we vote we have the unenviable job of foreseeing a future among much that glitters with never being true.