20 March 2006

Monday Miscellany: Poppolacracy, or Everyone Else is Doing It

When I log unto my computer at work, I often say triumphantly as the desktop loads, "Okay, we're in." Is that weird?

My American lit students are presenting the findings of their research projects this week. Their assignment was to research themes of American pop music (in the broad definition; anything but classical). I had to put severe restrictions on the content that they could use in their oral presentations, though they were fairly free in their written paper. After two presentations, one of my juniors exclaimed with surprise, "It's amazing how pervasive profanity is in music today!" Exactly.

A former student dropped by today (class of '02). She had been just passing by and decided to drop in. She had forgotten my name, but sought me out to thank me for teaching her economics. Our stock market simulation had sparked in her an interest in economics (I had no idea). She ended up taking a number of economics courses in college and almost majored in it. Anyway, she just wanted to express her appreciation and encourage me to keep it up. If this were an everyday an event then I wouldn't relate this tale. Alas, it is quite rare and all the more precious for that.

Poppolacracy: the rule by popular opinion polls

Americans spend much of their time in raising and teaching children two main ideas: First, we want our children to do what is right, even if it is not popular. Second, we want our children to question popular wisdom and to refuse to go along with the crowd if the crowd is in the wrong. What child hasn't heard (and what parent has uttered), "If everyone else was jumping off of a cliff, would you jump off of a cliff?"

In case you missed, this weekend was the third anniversary of the Iraq war. John Murtha and William "The Gambler" Bennett were on CBS Sunday Morning presenting pre-recorded statements about the Iraq war.

What struck me strongest about Murtha's argument was the rationale he employed in proving his point. He did not talk about either the rightness, effectiveness, or competency of the war. His made three main points, and all three were based on opinion polls. In other words, he thought that since the war was unpopular, unpopular, and unpopular that it was not worth doing.

Granted, I have seen Murtha express his opposition to the war much more eloquently, but the citing of opinion polls as a reason for doing things (other than the voting off of Idols) is not leadership, it is followership. A true leader must be resolute and willing to stand for the right, especially when it is unpopular. How can we teach our children to do what is right when our leaders tell us to do what is popular?

BTW: Do you like polacracy, pollacracy, polecracy (sounds kinda like pole-crazy), or poppolacracy better?



Because I Said So said...

Excellent points.

I like poppolacracy, allthough polecracy(poll-crazy) may fit better.

fiorinda said...

I like poppolcracy, too.