We are frogs sitting in boiling water

The “boiling frog” story has been used for years to metaphorically explain our unwillingness to heed the warning signs of change when that change is gradual.
The frog will jump to safety if placed in boiling water, but will meet his demise if the cool water in which he sits is warmed slowly to boiling.
This era in society is no different than others, but it seems the boiling point is coming quicker. We are still the frogs peering intently from our pot of slowly boiling water.
We appear to be engaged in the goings-on in society. We take to the streets and express our outrage—fuelled by our emotional indignation that a child in Florida may or may not have lost her life at the hands of her mother.
We watched and applauded the demise of Rupert Murdoch’s “News of the World.” This so-called news rag failed because the published articles were based on information gathered from illegal and unethical phone taps, and the subsequent interference with the police’s ability to investigate accurately a young girl’s murder.
Murdoch claimed his innocence and distance from such investigative reporting tactics, and outwardly folded up his tent in a humble manner.
We become emotionally charged watching the Stanley Cup playoffs or Wimbledon or FIFA’s World Cup, or any number of the sports giants we have to choose from. We don our favourite team caps and shirts, and spend a small fortune on tickets in order to be part of the live action.
We weep at the losses for our team and turn into property-damaging maniacs. Riots have been incited by the mere loss of a game.
We become royal watchers and celebrate every moment of the recent nuptials; our breath quickening at the sight of such fanfare, such ceremony, such grandeur.
The media watches for a misstep, an awkward moment, but other than Princess Beatrice’s hat, the event went off without a hitch.
We could tune in to many channels over many days until we got our fill of the ceremony running over and over.
Meanwhile, like the frog, our energy and focus are distracted from the “heat” of what’s going on in our democracy. Our attention is pulled away from the plight of the disenfranchised and downtrodden.
We fail to notice or react to the chiselling away of social rights and programs meant to protect us, that previous generations fought for. We seem rather disinterested in whether the U.S. will meet its debt obligations by early August.
The fact there is one shred of doubt of such payment should scare the beejeezus out of us—knowing the effect such an event would have on the global economy.
I have been naïve in the past, listening to disturbing events that occur elsewhere in the world and thinking smugly, “Not in Canada.” But after seeing the disobedience and destruction of public property after the Vancouver Canucks failed to bring home the Stanley Cup, I think I may have matured—even if only slightly.
We should want to live deliberate lives based on making good decisions that protect not just our own backyard and our own children, but the planet as a whole and the tricky network of society that inhabits her. We could all move to the wilderness, leave the television and the Internet to others, build a log cabin, and live in ignorant bliss.
I suspect many of us have done just that, without leaving our own backyards.
We need to jump out of the pot of heating water and taking note of what really matters. Not that we shouldn’t care about senseless and cruel deaths, and we should shudder at the atrocities that we commit against one another.
But we cannot sit back and think that we are powerless; that we cannot affect any change. We have to insist upon accurate, unbiased reporting from those who provide the “news.”
We have to pay attention when power is being collected like poker chips, and the world’s wealth being divided between fewer and fewer wallets.
Simply put, we have to do better.
wendistewart@live.ca

Wendi with an ‘eye’ logo

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