People are sheep. To state this in a more politically correct fashion: People are followers. The shepherd is in charge and guides his flock to each field. He has no real power but the sheep do as they’re told. Unbeknownst to the shepherd and his flock is that the lambs control his destiny. A herd of a hundred will graze in their lot with no consequences. A million can turn those green pastures into desert.
I am sure everyone has heard the question, “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?”. The majority would say they would. Who wouldn’t? He was the leader of the Nazis. A group that killed millions. You would be saving countless lives. Are you sure? You might just be wasting a bullet. Hitler had an army. The army did the killing. If there had not been an army then Hitler would have been just another bigot spouting hatred.
How did Hitler go from a failed artist to amassing a military capable of taking on the most powerful forces in the world? The short version? Someone listened. Then more and more listened until they were strong enough to force people to do what they wanted. Hitler was not the one who convinced thousands that genocide was right. The masses convinced themselves and those who could not be convinced were coerced. Sheep created the Holocaust, not Hitler.
People forget a valuable lesson repeatedly throughout history. Leaders only hold onto power by the whims of the ones they lead. I believe that this has been forgotten now, especially in the United States. Every moment there someone complaining about their leaders. No matter the nationality, people still blame their misfortunes on those “in charge.”. Each citizen not accepting responsibility for one’s fate.
We are beginning to wake up, though. Ever more frequent, we look to each other for answers instead of our leaders. And as this fog is lifted, we once again realize we are in control. It presses me to wonder, if those people had chosen to not be herded, could we have averted mass murder?
I refuse to believe we are more capable of massacring one another than to step outside ourselves and be willing to sacrifice our comfort of the herd. To discontinue, instinctively, looking toward the shepherd for our next course of action.
This begs another question. If Hitler was the spark that caused so much death, couldn’t someone else be the catalyst to save just as many? To be a beacon which people imitate for the betterment of each other instead of the destruction. A paladin for the world.
Yes, we had Gandhi, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr. And their legacies live on to this day but these men eventually became martyrs. After so much time has passed their words are remembered, to our chagrin, far less seldom and we revert back to our former selves, selfish with a victim mentality.
If anyone takes anything away from this I hope it is there may be shepherds and we may be sheep but we don’t have to follow the flock. We can lead ourselves to what is right. To build this world into something greater than anything conceived. One day, we will choose to stop laying waste to our green pastures.