“What would have happened if you were a meek person, one of those people who just accept what’s happening to them?” she asked.
“I don’t know, ” I replied. I don’t understand meek.”
I didn’t know how to answer the question. I tried to remember a time when I might have been a meek person or felt meek. I don’t remember a single incident in my life where that was the case.
I looked up the definition of meek; “humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others; overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.” Nope. Not me. Not ever.
Some of the synonyms worked for me though. I am gentle and patient with children, moderate most of the time, peaceful as long as the house behaves and no dogs poop on my lawn, fawning never, docile – not to my knowledge, as for being forbearing, yes certainly of honest mistakes (I’m not perfect) and of course always with children. Yielding, maybe not so much.
I honestly don’t know what a meek person would have done. All I did was research the problem independently of what the bank was saying so that when I got a chance to talk to someone I would be well enough informed to make reasonable demands based on the facts at hand. Meek people could do that.
I think the issue is more about the different forms of intimidation we experience and getting comfortable with the idea of wielding a sledge hammer. When we knock on the doors of institutions whose secrets are well kept and where people like us are not allowed to participate in making the rules and regulations, we’re outsiders. If you’re not sitting at the table at the point of origin, you are not a stakeholder in the process. You’re just a victim, a market, a customer, a stranded passenger, a vote-less nobody. And when a bureaucracy is run by a cartel like many of ours are – our health insurance, our retirement funds, airline companies that don’t have to obey the rules, even the way in which movies are rated – they’re all run by a cartel, a secret Star Chamber. When you knock on those doors you’re pretty much on your own, having no effective defense other than what you can imagine.
These cartels are the Wolves that Thomas Jefferson talked about; “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
Back in 1931 Tom Krause, a coach and a teacher said, “Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.” I never pick up my hammer worrying about whether I’ll win or lose. I just want to try. Jim says I tilt at windmills. I quote Thomas Jefferson, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
Revolution. It’s never too late. Somebody should tell the hackers to go and get Madoff’s money and hold it hostage in a secret, numbered account somewhere. Or the “merchant banker” of the Bank of Scotland who destroyed the bank and got to keep his $625,000 pound pension anyway. He’s hiding out somewhere.