It seems that, more often than not, I am citing a line from the hit song “Land of Confusion”, Genesis, 1986 that says “Oooh Superman where are you now….where everything has gone wrong somehow,…men of steel, men of power….are losing control by the hour.”
It does not take much to see why, just turn on your morning news. From Hong Kong where demonstrators have literally shut down one of the most important air gateways in the world – Hong Kong International Airport, to the ongoing stare down at the intersection of DKI Highway and Mauna Kea Road, leadership behind these two events has been taken over by players who never got elected, but have gained outsized power.
The ironic thing about the imposition of “strong power” in each of these episodes is that while it is desired by the “silent majority” of those not on the street or blocking roads, there is a real fear of what that power looks like, and what the results of that imposition would be.
And I think, in essence, those with the power are also afraid of that too: if we quash this dissent now, does that really solve the problem? Or, as I think they really fear, is that ending the “disturbances” only puts all of the issues into a pressure cooker that, eventually, will either need to be depressurized or it explodes, starting the disturbances all over again at even higher levels.
Back in the past, it might have been easier to suppress and pack away the lingering issues, knowing that the spreading of a message would be slow and easy to maintain. But now, a message about, say a event at Mauna Kea is getting immediate circulation in social media to the point where it’s impossible to get ahead of it. A insanely efficient messaging system combined with skilled messengers provides movements the ability to create, direct and spread a narrative that wins.
And controlling that narrative, and how fast it can spread, makes the ability to just squelch the demonstrations and pack the issues away almost impossible. And the fact that elected leadership in Hong Kong and Hawaii have been unable to get ahead and manage the issues tells me full on that no one in leadership in both situations are the “Supermen” that Genesis was describing in their song.
And, for the love of all, right now, we could use that Superman that everyone respects, to figure out the problems that no one in leadership currently has the ability to.