Where would any of us land in a Revolution? It’s a thought that comes to mind every week when watching the NBC show with the same name. When push comes to shove, rubber meets the road, real choices and substantive acts must be performed – would the turbulent freedom-loving Rebels or the seemingly security-offering, liberty-limiting Patriots be your better fit?
Revolution is about the struggle to restore societal order in an environment where little to none exists. Its particular scenario – 15 or so years after the onset of a worldwide blackout – reminds that practicalities sometimes make for odd, even fluid, alliances as dire conditions and unforeseen challenges occur in a world whose only predictability lies in its reliably unpredictable state.
It often comes down to good versus bad, brave versus cowardly, bold versus timid.
The Rebels are an assortment of individuals resistant to an emerging world order in which strong but often heavy-handed, oppressive and exploitative enclaves thrive at the expense of those willing to submit. The formidable Monroe Republic that first dominated the villain theme has more recently been usurped by the “Patriots,” a group claiming to be former members of the U.S. government. That claim increasingly becomes more believable based on their aggressive marshaling of resources, ruthless approach to controlling people and places along with unapologetically punitive – barbaric even – treatment of those who cross their paths and fail to adopt their agenda.
Of course most of us would always say we fall on the side of good, brave and bold, but isn’t bad, cowardly and timid more often the order of the day? After all, bad manifests as corruption with complacency toward corruption a secondary yet common version. Cowardness shows itself through an unwillingness to taking contrarian or principled stands. And timid involves avoiding risk or potentially adverse consequences. These are characteristics sadly applicable to many in today’s world.
A friend recently remarked on how tiring it is to so often be on the losing end of issues. I countered first that those issues are ones most people would not even dare take on. Anyone can do easy, not everyone is willing to even attempt hard. Secondly, however, and most important — it’s not a matter of being on the “losing” side as in the factually wrong or morally deficient side – it’s about being on the unpopular side, the side NOT often offering the path of least resistance. The side less emblemized by a flock of sheep. There is a difference.
The attraction to fantasy shows like Revolution comes not in the absence of reality in the scenario depicted. The attraction is in the absence of behavioral reality. It’s allowing people to enjoy a sense (false for most) that in life-as-we-know-it-ending, catastrophic circumstances, they’d truly behave differently than they now do in daily life – that they’d be willing to take the unpopular stand, walk the path that requires resistance.
In theory people want to be on the side of good, honesty and integrity. But, it’s easier said than done. In reality they are fearful and easily intimidable thus allowing society’s darker forces to flourish.
Many flatter themselves to think they’d be with Revolution’s Rebels, The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen or Star Wars’ Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but when it comes down to it – fear and intimidation not irregularly bring trepidation and complacency that enables the opportunistic and exploitative to prevail.
People today often fall into one of five basic categories: defrauders, deniers/groupies, desperates, dissenters and don’t knows/don’t cares.
Defrauders perpetrate corruption and dishonesty. Their self-interest has no limits. They feel entitled to whatever objects or ends on which they set their sights. In positions of trust, be it public or private, betrayals are routine.
Deniers and groupies often ignore realities of defrauders’ actions to maintain, even justify, proximity that may allow a sharing of spoils or ensuring their ever-important “seat at the table.” A different vein may feel invested, but also trapped in a system and therefore unwilling to explore change.
Desperates are those who want to be part of the “popular crowd,” the “in group” – no matter what. Deep thought isn’t required here. It’s about status, not substance.
Dissenters. These are the Rebels mentioned above. They are not necessarily about being radicals or malcontents. Motivations can as much be about not being submissive, having a willingness to at least attempt thwarting the bad acts of exploiters or predators. Or, about self-reliance and individual freedom opposed to dependency and group thought.
And then there are the don’t knows/don’t cares. Ignorance indeed can be bliss. With don’t knows, sometimes it’s naturally occurring, other times by design. And don’t cares. What can you say? Whether defeatists, disenfranchised or disconnected, their checking out enhances the influence defrauders, deniers and groupies as well as desperates inflict.
Of these five groups, in how many would you want be? Maybe none, certainly not all, or even many. But this is real life, not fantasy. And, it gives good cause for thought bringing us back to where we started.
In a Revolution, is where you’d like to land the same as where you’d likely land?