I was having a conversation with a colleague about how South American and Asian countries have a tendency to follow the countries they despise. Vietnam hates China and yet they seem to practice the governmental policies as the superpower they claim to want to do nothing with. The same goes with South America versus North America, particularly los Estados Unidos.

South American governments’ tendency (hola Brasil) to follow the US lead on visas comes to mind as does Vietnam via China’s internet restrictions. So – do countries just follow what the big boys do because the bigger countries are someone to follow? Is this the case of I’ll vote for the lesser of two evils during presidential elections? Something to follow is better than nothing at all?

My moral fiber is twitching. Twitch-ing.

Perhaps the reasoning is the US and China are “rich and successful”? If you yell we can yell too kind of thing. I don’t know. But it is easy to see that this behavior trickles down to individuals too. What a profound responsibility each of us carries, something I talk about in my other blog, the missing teacher. Because I think it is worth noting that these playground antics shape societies, cultures, civilizations and casted out the ugly duckling in Hans Christian Andersen’s ubiquitous story.

This ability to think for myself is something I take for granted. I don’t know why I am the way that I am. And I’d rather not get into the argument of nature versus nurture or quack verses quack. Of course too much individualism gives you the case against the United States and too much collectivism gives you well, China. So how do you teach second guessing?

How do you learn: what a minute why are we following what everyone else is doing? How many times do you watch history repeat itself and think, yeah that didn’t work out so well? The mob mentality in its extremist form allowed millions of people to die during the holocaust. What makes you think your group won’t be next in some “sensible” maniac’s idea of ethnic cleansing?

Will nations lead by example in every aspect, not just what political parties deem important at this “pivotal moment in history”? Or will we continue to shuffle the cards of fate? Difficult to say but I know it starts here. With me.

I don’t need my own child to be a good role model; there are plenty of children around. I don’t need (or desire) to run for political office to do community work or be happy with my resume. I don’t need to be public because in private I see what I do. And I don’t need another election, a new year or a fresh start to start behaving like a human being.

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