63 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/28/11

The Danger of Simplicity

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   6 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message David Swanson
Become a Fan
  (139 fans)

I sat down during a lengthy protest occupation to play a game of chess, but my friend was better than I am. So, halfway through the match, I said to him, "What's your one move?"

He didn't know what I meant. "What's your one winning move," I said, "and which piece are you going to use? Get all the other pieces off the board. If you can't win with one piece in one move, you'll never win!"
My voice was getting louder as I said this.

He was looking at me like I was a little bit nuts. "Sure I will," he said very slowly as if I were an idiot, "and you won't even see it coming."

I tried to reason with him. It was for his own good. "What's your one simple move? What's your one simple move? What's your one simple move?" I was practically screaming, but he still didn't understand, so I did the only thing I could. I jumped on the chess board with both feet. If he couldn't be simple, I could at least stop him from being complicated!


The problem in this story, of course, is that chess isn't simple. But compared to fixing the mess our nation and our world are in, it's child's play. Yet, we are constantly bombarded with demands for the "one simple move" to fix everything in our politics. How insane is that? And the "news" media tell us what's happening in a manner that could not possibly report coherently the complexity of a single chess game yet attempts to inform us about the entire world.

Now, I have no quarrel with short pithy posters and sound bytes. I'm not proposing that we mumble doctoral theses into television cameras. But we need to bear in mind that the medium is the moron. The people on the receiving end of television chatter are not as stupid as television itself. There is such a thing as diminishing returns in the arms race of dumbness through which we dumb everything down until we reach the ultimate perfection of pure political messaging and grunt a single syllable.

We've taken the reasonable idea of a simple unifying cause that requires little explanation. We've combined it with the self-flagellation of progressive framers and messagers who imagine they aren't getting on the tee-vee because evolution deniers are wittier and pithier, rather than because of who owns the networks. We've stirred in a dash of Egypt envy: "Mubarak Out" said it all in two words; where are our two words? Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo.

https://occupywallst.org came up with this response to the "What is your one simple demand" demand:

On September 21st, 2011, Troy Davis, an innocent man, was murdered by the state of Georgia. Troy Davis was one of the 99 percent.
Ending capital punishment is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, the richest 400 Americans owned more wealth than half of the country's population.
Ending wealth inequality is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, four of our members were arrested on baseless charges.
Ending police intimidation is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, we determined that Yahoo lied about occupywallst.org being in spam filters.
Ending corporate censorship is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, roughly eighty percent of Americans thought the country was on the wrong track.
Ending the modern gilded age is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, roughly 15% of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing.
Ending political corruption is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, roughly one sixth of Americans did not have work.
Ending joblessness is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, roughly one sixth of America lived in poverty.
Ending poverty is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, roughly fifty million Americans were without health insurance.
Ending health-profiteering is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, America had military bases in around one hundred and thirty out of one hundred and sixty-five countries.
Ending American imperialism is our one demand.
On September 21st, 2011, America was at war with the world.
Ending war is our one demand.

http://occupytogether.org is spreading occupations across the country, sans the One Simple Demand. How can this be? What is motivating these people? Are they all part of some cult of complexity and obscurantism? How can the imbeciles I imagine everyone but myself to be ever hope to catch on?

http://october2011.org is taking the movement to Washington, D.C., beginning on October 6th, and this crowd apparently wants seven things! and probably more! This is on the website:

Tax the rich and corporations.
End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending.
Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all
End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests.
Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation.
Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages.
Get money out of politics.

Whoa! Way. Too. Many. Words. The ideal sentence is a single word. And you cannot build a political campaign around more than a single sentence. This is getting completely out of hand.

http://rebuildthedream.com has pretty much the same agenda, but they put it into Ten (10) points, if you can believe it:

I. Invest in America's Infrastructure
II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
III. Invest in Public Education
IV. Offer Medicare for All
V. Make Work Pay
VI. Secure Social Security
VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
X. Strengthen Democracy

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

David Swanson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Obama's Open Forum Opens Possibilities

Public Forum Planned on Vermont Proposal to Arrest Bush and Cheney

Feith Dares Obama to Enforce the Law

Did Bush Sr. Kill Kennedy and Frame Nixon?

The Question of a Ukraine Agreement Is Not a Question

Can You Hold These 12 Guns? Don't Shoot Any Palestinians. Wink. Wink.

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend