Marolt: We just got elected to be ‘The Man’
December 2, 2016
It's unsettling to realize you are "The Man." You wonder if it happened because you were complacent, arrogant or just ran out of energy. Nobody wants to be The Man.
It's bad enough that you are The Man and may have been since before you thought you could ever be him to begin with, but also to realize that he actually can be right sometimes. You understand this because you are him now, but haven't changed your views all that much and, thus, still believe you are correct about some things.
I should probably start at the beginning. My history may not be perfect, but I think The Man was born around the time the first nukes where tested. He was for sure around when we dropped a couple on Japan. The military industrial complex to follow was a product of his ideas. He got us into Vietnam and Iraq by swearing he saw their WMDs.
Basically, you know you are not The Man when an almost irrepressible urge makes you want to, far too often, resort to expressing yourself on behalf of humanity using your middle finger. It's more than just calling the people you disagree with a bunch of idiots. That's a brush off. A simple idiot has no power and is hardly worthy of indignity.
On the other side of it, you need to consider that you are The Man when the bird seems absurd. You might tell yourself that you have outgrown the obscenity and are embracing reasonableness, patience, and maybe even an open mind in its place, but that's actually nothing more than a self-congratulatory way of explaining your mellowness from the strength of feeling morally superior.
Keep in mind that when I say "you," I really mean "me," and use this trick to keep this little confession moving along.
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I knew the game of deceiving myself was up when I began to see "Vote for Trump" yard signs as a blatant bird flip at me as I skirted the evening traffic jam on Main Street via the back streets in the West End. Of course, this proved not to be a fleeting case of election cycle paranoia when the fool ended up fooling me. For those of you paying close attention, it is absolutely telling that I used the word "fool" instead of "idiot," trying to brush that event off.
I don't want to dwell on this because what's done is done and can't be undone, at least for another four years or unless someone at the Electoral College pulls the fire alarm and everyone in the building rushes out to safety, leaving their promises open on the desks to be destroyed in the inferno. But that's not going to happen. The Founding Fathers built that place out of brick and insulated it with asbestos.
I want to know: How did the party of ideals and liberal thinking became The Man? I mean, we're the ones who have been fighting The Man from Day One. Vietnam. Watergate. The Bushes. Tobacco. Oil. Guns. When did we stop flipping the finger and start getting flipped off instead?
It might have started when we began driving SUVs. I know we did it for the safety of the kids and gas was cheap, and we never would have done it if we didn't kind of need them for school carpooling. But you have to admit, we must have cut off more than a few people in traffic to cause this turn of events.
We lost the fingers race. Sure, there were more hands in the air for Clinton, but who knew the ones with middle fingers extended counted more for the other side? I admit, it never occurred to me to flip off Trump. I made fun of him, perpetuated the joke he is, but never felt threatened enough to flip him off. I've got to own it now.
You know what, though? Everything is cyclical. What comes around goes around, as they say. Hold onto it long enough and it will come back in fashion. It's enough to encourage finger-tip push-ups and squeezing tennis balls.
The Man is always comfortable. There's no doubt about it. I think the past eight years were pretty good, not perfect, but good enough. Seriously, a lot of us around here complain that we are too busy. It's obvious now that plenty of people all over the rest of everywhere else aren't comfortable enough to say that. They got mad and decided not to take it anymore. Remember how intoxicating that feeling was?
Roger Marolt feels liberated to not be The Man anymore. Email at Roger@maroltllp.com.
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