Don’t be the Frog
I’m sure by now we’ve all heard of the anecdote illustrating how humans don’t react to slow gradual changes, similar to if you put a frog in a pan of water and slowly heat it, that Frog also won’t move. Well, this piece is to remind us all to be mindful of what’s happening and to be vigilant on the slow erosion of rights. First, the marginalized of society (the LGBT, the disabled, the immigrants) get targeted. The rhetoric is that they are ‘bad’ for society morally; they are useless, just stealing jobs/money. Yet already, we see this repeating, not only in developing countries but in countries that are considered civilized.
Look at Poland and the rise of the right and how they throw the blame at the LGBTQIA community, actively working to remove their rights to protect the moral fiber of their nation. Look at the Conservatives in the UK who lay the blame at everyone’s feet, alternating between the disabled through their barbaric disability assessments for benefits, immigrants, the EU, and everyone else they can use as a scapegoat. Finally, Look at Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the US.
The final state before fascism takes over. An individual, backed by his party, so desperate to be loved, so desperate to have the approval of those he considers the most important, is willing to tear apart the constitution. Through carefully crafted dog whistles that appeal to his core supporters, through the usage of scapegoats, and finally through beginning to dehumanize those who stand against him, by turning the situation into an ‘us’ versus ‘them’, we have the start of the end.
Yet how did it get to this? The same way the Frog eventually would get boiled to its demise — slow, gradual movements towards the end goal. Rather than turning the heat up to maximum immediately, slowly but surely turning the heat up, seeing where they can get away with it, where people accept the metaphorical heat as the new normal. Then turning it up gradually until the populace is so complacent that there is no reaction.
The BLM protests have caused a temporary pause, as has in some places at least Covid-19 on this ramping up of us versus them rhetoric, but now more than ever, we need to be aware. We need not allow ourselves to be the Frog, feeling the water slowly getting warmer but thinking ‘this is fine’, and instead make the leap to safety before it’s too late, and we’re all boiled alive. We, as a society, need to focus less on what makes us different and more on where we can empathize. We need to heal the fractures between us, we need to move away from the capitalist us versus them mindset, and stop viewing others as competition.
Only through moving away from us versus them can we truly grow in strength as humanity. Through coming together, by celebrating our differences, and forging a robust chain together, feeling comfortable in the idea that our weak points are protected with someone else being strong in them. At the same time, we cover other persons’ weak points. By changing the narrative mentally of “I need to be self-sufficient” to opening the walls we build from the need to prove our strength and capability, to “Working together we can lift much more collectively than one alone”. More sayings indicate that group work is favorable than the lone wolf mentality that has become dominant.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” — Phil Jackson