Updated: Nov 19, 2021
I've had a lifetime fascination with why some have a voice and others don't. Being airline crew for so long I always marvelled at the dynamics of the teams I flew with. I observed those who made their mark quickly, the loudest voices, listened to the powerful and the overpowering. You might ask what was my gripe? Was it because I didn't have a voice? Not really. I sat somewhere in the middle of being ignored and being heard. As history now teaches us sometimes the voices that are heard are disastrous for mankind. I am thinking about Hitler, Mugabe and Saddam Hussain when I write this. They led with heinous intent and yet their voices are heard time and time again.
History also shows us that identity can become firmly locked by the actions of a small minority. What do I mean by this? Well after World War II there was a move toward defining nations in a certain way, this one was cowardly, that one evil, this one brave another turncoats etc. But time and time again we see how heroes emerge from cultures classed as cowardly and some of the kindest and bravest acts were carried out by those deemed to be evil.
I don't profess to be a expert on this but I do see the unwavering power behind some people's voices. But instead of seeing that as a mark of knowledge I see it as an unfaltering belief in their own words propped up sometimes by a sense of entitlement and utter arrogance. Those of us who falter at the first hurdle using the words 'I think or perhaps' are letting the foot of mockery block the door shutting. Thus giving those who choose to question a helping hand.
In Malcolm Gladwell's book 'The Tipping Point' he mentions how charisma can back the delivery of messages and yet we are lead to believe by people who met him that Hitler was anything but charismatic. He was however a bully and most definitely derranged. His psychopathic tendencies drove fear into the population.
Talking of fear I was a party to an event of extreme prejudice against LGBTQI people many years ago. I waded in and raised my objection to the repugnant claims and others sat around the table silently. After the event some of the team came up to me and congratulated me on standing my ground and mentioned they agreed wholeheartedly. I asked why they hadn't backed me. Their response? Fear! So there you have it. Fear allows the talons of evil to get a hold on ordinary people.
In the last year we have seen voices take hold of our public psyche in a way that has been 'unprecedented' (to coin an over used word this year). Smaller voices have been silenced, mocked and ignored. Powerful, entitled voices have created a one way track.
Before I go today I want to quote two voices on both sides of the spectrum of good and evil. Hitler once said "to conquer a nation you must first disarm its citizens". Einstein said “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”
Challenge those voices for that is our only path to peace.