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Poet Commentaries

People Power and Road Rage

I was asked to read yet another blog and opine on it.  It was an interesting read from a political pundit full of facts and predictions. My view though is we all better own umbrellas even if it calls for no rain.  We can neither stop looking at weather reports nor can we do anything about them.  

This got me thinking about the phrase “the power of the people” and how we get this all wrong.  There are many people who believe that if it was not for religion, politics and class we could all together blow dark clouds away or come up with the right science to seed them and make the nice fluffy ones send rain at the right time. Likely this would work if we could only agree on what the right time is.

There is a “power of the people”(POP), it shows up as smiles under umbrellas or sweat on farmers planting corn in a drought.  The problem with most adherents of the religion of “POP” is they frown in the rain and they call smilers pacifists.  

If I were to have a blog I would try to get across and teach the real power of the people.  This would be done subtly, in a secret coded language that only great people could get.

It can be taught when teaching our children to drive for instance.  What a great opportunity to teach personal prowess. There are here so many parallels to our social world that can help our society immensely. I leave it up to you to think of them all after reading. Here I just blather on with some food for thought harvested while teaching my daughter to drive.

I will start by saying that at the completion of my daughter’s time with me she will become that good driver.  You would be relaxed in her passenger seat just like you should be with all good people.  

How does one separate the good from the bad when sitting at the head of a line at a red light.  They both are tapping their fingers on the wheel but one will be tapping to the beat of a mantra inside their head instead of the music.  “If that guy was faster, if she was a better driver, if the lights were timed better or I left sooner maybe I would get to where I want to be.  What will I tell my boss, how can I get past that guy and when will the damn light change.”

Possibly there is never a rest in the head of a bad driver and that is too bad. There likely is no lack of the technical skills needed to operate his motor vehicle but they do not have the emotional means to change stations in their head. They really hate hitting brakes. They will always be pressed for time and position and will be very quick to teach slower drivers to speed up.

Me?  I teach to coast and relax, to drum the finger to the tune on the radio, to pucker up and whistle even if I get stared at.  I am not passive aggressive and do not police the left lane at 100 km an hour to make this world better.  I never get even. My rules are pretty cool.

Today at the light for instance we met a wheel tapper in a brand new black Corvette. All smiles… from my daughter too.  Look how frisky he is and how loud the purr.  I teach her to rev the motor, get eye contact and nod at the road ahead.  More smiles.  At the green light he rockets off squealing with delight.  So cool to watch a stallion kick up and play.  He was a good driver.

Why was this possible and Ok?  Well he did not tailgate her leading up to the light.  There was no push and rush in him.  Everything about his car was cool except the horn, which may have sounded like the General Lee, but he did not show it off.  There was no “critical law” broken, no disrespect for others, he just did what all good horses do once in awhile and he did it safely.

What would be a “critical law” at a red light? Peace and safety.  The whole red light law exemplifies “do unto others”.  

Take the horn.  It too mostly exists for the peace and safety of others.  It is not there to express how you feel or teach others to drive. A trucker can honk their horn for a little kid in the back of a car just like the Vette can give a little squeal of delight and neither would be breaking a higher law.

In fact in a way they are obeying unwritten laws.  In the case of the Vette, he obeyed a law that is not in the Highway Traffic Act. At least on my test there was no multiple choice for how to start a little “race”.  It brought smiles and connections, it was not dangerous, thoughtless and arrogant.  He interacted.   

The bleeping trucker…well I am sure somewhere it is written to give a toot. Everyone knows the “air honk” motion after all.

In this world today there is blog after blog of people defining what is wrong with the world, how to fix traffic gridlock and stop the road rage.  They blame politics, economics, religion or the lack of cohesion in the movement of “people power”.  The irony is road rage exists because of this misconstrued idea of the power we have.  Road Rage is weak people thinking they have power.

When I am at my most thankful for being Canadian it is often something simple like when I watch videos that shows traffic in other countries where incidents of road rage are a more regular occurrence.  There is in these videos a constant honking and pushing, every car has a dent and red lights are ignored. It makes me super glad I drive in Canada.

It should not need to be pointed out, but I will add, that it is not religion that created the mess abroad or that made our Canadian roads better.  You cannot track the relative peace of driving on Canadian roads to a particular politician.  Of course there are reasons like population density, economics and how we police our roads but you would be hard pressed to define these influences clearly.  Can I quantify how I feel “traffic ticket busters” and less policing make the culture worse? I cannot.

Can I quantify what kind of person makes a good driver?  Not exactly.  I can say that I think good drivers exemplify the term “people power” that make this world better. Humble, thoughtful, confident and aware are just some characteristics that fit this concept of powerful people. Bad drivers are neither anarchists nor zealots.  They are neither a gang of motorcyclists nor a gaggle of Beetles, though either of the latter will certainly have good drivers among them.
They know how to blush.  They are people who understand critical laws.  People who have never honked their horn in anger.  They know how to change stations, they know how and when to apply brakes and they know that pride comes with a reverse gear.  They are so thankful for red lights and traffic circles and learn the etiquettes required to merge peacefully.  Typically the very best of the best have never read the Highway Traffic Act or this blog.  

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