A Fist Full of Anger
I was watching yet another attack ad that apparently is the only way some people know how to communicate, depending upon innuendo when enervation has set in. It got me to thinking about the dangers of failing to understand that this country that we should always truly put first is full of people-- people who are not all like you.
The iconic American is the cowboy-- the independent free spirit, who goes his own way and rides off into the sunset tied down to no one and to nothing. One could even call this icon a "Maverick." He may appeal to other mavericks, or those who style themselves as such, but there can't be more than one maverick-- everyone else just becomes a part of the herd. To the Maverick, almost everyone else is the "other."
But the problem is that the rugged individualist is never a part of a community. He doesn't know what it means to build a future within society because he takes too much pride in his self-imposed exile into the sunset. These iconoclasts do not consider the needs of others; they remain aloof from love; their friends are few. Even those "good guys" who might be their natural allies keep them at arms' length because the Maverick cannot be counted upon. His attention span is too short, and there's always another dust-covered mesa to cross. He shoots from the hip-- which is another way of saying that he doesn't always have a plan. He knows how to fight, but that makes him the gunslinger, not the mayor-- or even the sheriff.
But there comes a time when people have to work together in a crisis, especially a crisis that was caused by a refusal to attempt foresight or consider consequences. There comes a time when the townspeople realize that the Maverick always has his own interests at heart, and that ultimately he shields himself from the consequences of his actions by insisting on his own truth, his own path. In his heart, he believes that he is the only person who can determine what is right. He doesn't pretend to have the answers because the questions don't interest him. So he attacks instead of plans.
The Maverick is brave, yes. He knows right from wrong, but often justifies doing wrong for expediency's sake. Sometimes he crosses the line, consumed by his own mythology. He doesn't have opponents, only enemies, and he doesn't seek to defeat them so much as to destroy them. Sometimes he becomes willing to do anything in his quest to win.
Sadly, sometimes the Maverick just becomes the Desperado.