When Odysseus was returning from his ten year vacation on the Northern shores of Anatolia's Scamandar River, along the sunny Aegean Sea, where he and his men spent their idle moments bandaging wounds, sharpening swords, recounting their day's adventures and their resort itinerary included such fanciful pasttimes as: Haggling with the Locals *(this was usually of such agressive name calling that it nearly always ended in coming to blows for the remainder of the day,) Archery, making sand castles, fishing, obstacle courses (with ladders that the locals liked to push down, pour boiling oil on and set alight -- take note you Ironmen Triathletes, you've got nothing on ancient Ithacan sports) and woodcrafting (Odysseus took home top honors with his incredible Trojan Horse) he had a world of troubles that beset him and his hearty crew.
You see, the gods were angry. And it wasn't your average, "I've disrespected the One True God," angry, he had a whole passle of trouble with a good portion of the most powerful part of the pantheon to which he was ultimately answerable. And a simple, "Dude, don't know what I was thinking. Forgive me?" wasn't going to cut it. There were going to be some consequences.
So on his way back home to Ithaca (this is a place in Greece, not the friendly little burg of New York fame, home to a great little 2nd Amendment fowling piece of the same name. I don't know if "Shooter" used an Ithaca, but it would have been Homeric poesy had he done) he was going to have to come to grips with the anger of the gods and, to be fair, his own sense of personal worth and vainglorius pride.
One of the things Odysseus had to do was to go between a legendary hot spot known as the Straits of Messina. In his day it was beset by two terrors, one on either side of this narrow passage. One was Scylla, the rock, upon which resided a horrible creature with multiple arms and a powerful hunger for the other, other white meat when occasion provided. The other was Charybdis, a large sucking pool of swirling water that could, under the best of circumstances, put a large dent in the positive upbeat tempo of your day if you got too close.
There was no happy middle ground between these two terrible choices in this narrow passage. Now of course, the passage itself could easily be avoided if he'd done things differently and planned ahead a little better. As it was, he decided to visit the Sirens and hear their magical voices, convinced that he could get away with it. And, I s'pose you could say he did, but again, there are always consequences.
Thus is the basic synopsis of the opening to Odysseus' journey on a ship with no name, black and fast, heading back home to kith and kin -- with a few sidestops for tourist attractions along the way.
Compared to today's situation, Odysseus is on the Ship of State of the USA. The Sirens' song is the call of re-election, which all row to their deaths if they truly listen to the songs of the Sirens. Instead, they plug the ears of their party members while they row madly, allowing the Party Leaders to go insane, tied to the mast with the incredible beauty of the call of the electorate, the Corporations.
Scylla and Charybdis are either party, take your pick. One will suck you down, pulling all along with you, including the Ship of State, to the brimy depths and doom. The other will merely snatch and grab your crewmates, maybe you, as you pass by, unable to do anything more than scream in fear and despair. As it occurs, your Ship of State passes unheeding of your situation. It's not the ship, after all, that Scylla really wants. Scylla and Charybdis want You.
Now that this metaphorical analogy is made, please be advised: There are more troubles on the way. The gods are still quite ticked. There are more consequences on the way, and the vainglorious, overly proud Cap'n of the Ship of State (not meant to reference Mr. President, but hey, you go right ahead if it fits your view) has yet to learn his lesson and thus, invites even more serious repercussions.
The problem Odysseus has is that, even when warned time and again, he cannot believe that he cannot overcome the challenges ahead. Screw facts and warnings of those who know. The Cap'n knows that faith and pluck is all he really needs.
Forget for a moment that a captain's responsibility is to his crew and his ship (in that order) and not his own fame or power to command. Forget for this analogy that the symbology morphs and shifts as you or I imagine the symbols to be one thing or another at any given moment. Forget that the whole idea of a captain is to be a leader of men; wise, careful and not prone to fickleness.
The salient point here is that we, the crew of the Ship of State, are caught between the terrible aspects of the tragedy of the Beltway where, one party or the other is seemingly bound and determined to do us harm in some fashion, no matter which way we turn. And, due to the heading our Captain has set (and this includes the mismanaged lack of navigational savvy of previous Captains at the Wheel) and their unfailing inability to truly understand and relate to the crew -- composed of those from lesser standings and harder lives -- are oblivious of the fact that, while they safely proceed, the crew is at peril every step of the way for things that they did not create, vote for or have explained to them as hazards of being part of the crew.
If it were possible, and I think there's still time before we are assailed by the rock tossing giants, dinner with Polyphemus, getting turned to swine by Circe or losing the whole damn ship in a storm, we should mutiny. Really, how hard could it be to turn this Ship of Fools around and seek a safe harbor? Wouldn't it be more prudent to quit taking these gods damned short cuts, just so the Captain can see the sights?
If we all just quit rowing, jumped ship at the nearest landfall, the Cap'n, whoever it might be, depending on where you shift your point of view for the metaphors, would still have to row the damn thing on his own. Then maybe he'd have a finer understanding of what we, the People of the Ship of State, have to go through so that they can get to where they think they want to go. Sometimes, being right isn't about being conservative, it's about doing what you know to be the best thing you can. Being left can be more like being left behind, left alone or left to fend for yourselves; and that's irrespective of being a member of either the Left or the Right -- or even if you're not a member of either or any party.
Again to quote the Police from "One World (Not Three)"Remember this before you vote
We can all sink or we can float
'Cause we're all in the same big boat...
As long as the Captains of their respective ships can sail along, blithely unconcerned for the safety of their crew or ship, then we, the crews, are obligated to take matters into our own hands -- for the safety of the crew and the ship itself. I'm not going to grandiosely claim it's for the greater good. It's so we can still have a ship to sail tomorrow, and a crew that can continue to row it.
We still have a chance to claim the power of control. It's not about the greater good, it's a simple case of survival. This is the premise of Democracy 2.0, which is consistent with sports teams management. When the team isn't doing well, they don't fire the whole team, they get rid of the manager and get a new one in there to find another way to motivate the team. Our elected officials are all considered, not a team, but the manager of the team. Fired, I say, and no goddamn golden parachutes.
I think we should consider just taking Odysseus and tossing his vain ass into the wake of the ship and set a course for safer, saner waters. Hasn't he caused us enough trouble? Are we simply going to keep rowing into all the other troubles we know are coming? This is a Greek Tragedy, after all, you can see it coming from a stadia away, even in the cheap seats.