There's an old saying for players in rock and roll bands: If you can't play it good, play it loud.
Works, to a degree. Twist the volume knob up past ten and shred, you can cover a multitude of sins -- wrong chord, singing off-key, flubbing a lyric, if it's loud enough, people won't notice, being busy stuffing cotton into their ears against the pain.
Playing it good is better, of course, because you don't have to shatter eardrums to make it work. Good works as well quiet as loud.
Rock isn't the only place where this happens. For a time, I was a student at an aikido school. Nice place, good teachers, and one of the class rituals in that style was, before class, to sit seiza for a few moments, following along with the teacher in a call-and-response recitation of a bit of wisdom from the style's founder. Something like, "The moon is like a painted bird in the night sky and looks down on all the same ..." He'd say it, we'd repeat it, supposed to be very calming for the spirit, to aid in calming our inner energy, known as ki in that art.
Thing was, somewhere along the way, somebody decided that to demonstrate strong ki, the volume should be cranked up. Louder it was, the notion had it, the more powerful our ki.
So it was more like this: "THE MOON IS LIKE A PAINTED BIRD -- !" with a volume to blow paint off the walls and scare the street people passing by.
One of the senior black belts liked to tell us how, when students from another school dropped round, they were impressed with how powerful our ki was after they heard us.
I was always of the opinion that maybe they weren't so impressed with our ki as they were astounded by our volume. Good Lord. They've all gone barking mad!
"Loud" and "strong" aren't the same. The noise is not the signal. Raising the former doesn't increase the latter.
Alas, this also holds true in other areas. Take politics.
Our elected representatives -- all of them, D's, R's, Independents, Oddballs and Others, have been, especially of late, making a lot more noise than anything. Most people I know are tired of it, whichever side of the fence they live on, and they want to see some coöperation so that SOMETHING GETS DONE!
Lead, follow, or get out of the way. If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
War, famine, pestilence, death, the usual. I know it's too much to hope for, but I'd like to see senators and congressmen lay politics and the constant running-for-reëlection aside and come together for the sake of the country. Give something here, get something there, make deals that would in some way serve the people who elected them. Help folks out, during these trying times.
Too much to ask for, I know.
I can remember voting for somebody because I thought he'd do a better job, and it didn't matter whether he was a D or an R. Not so much any more, they've gotten rabid on both sides, and I choose what I consider the lesser of two evils. For me, now, that's the D's. Apt to stay that way long as Bush's Wars are still going -- hard to forget that.
Both major parties should to do this. Sit down, leave the pride on the coat rack, get stuff done. It's the right thing and it's way past damned time.
And if it doesn't happen, I'm guessing there are going to be a lot of politicians looking for work after the coming elections. Nobody is automatically getting my vote, for sure.