Most are familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. This medieval German story is based on a legend of a man dressed in a multicolored - pied - outfit who was a rat catcher hired by the town to lure rats away during the plague with his magic pipe. When the citizens refuse to pay for the service as they had promised, he retaliates by using his magic flute on the children of the town and leads them away as he had done the rats.
As I look at followers on all sides of the political spectrum, I have noticed political "pied pipers" whose followers will blindingly get in line and march in-step right off the side of the cliff at the direction of those they follow.
Many who read this will automatically think of the followers of former President Donald Trump. It is true that those who hopped aboard the Trump Train have followed him faithfully and continue to do so. From the very beginning Trump was a phenomenon of outspoken and opinionated rhetoric that echoed what millions of Americans had been thinking and wanting to say for decades which eventually shook the foundation of American politics and breached the unspoken rules of political etiquette.
However, Trump hasn't been the only pied piper of American politics of late. One would have to say Bill Clinton was quite suave and debonair. His hometown, Midwestern charm was exactly what many had been searching for after the well-to-do and proper East Coast etiquette of the Bush family.
Today, political pipers seem to have a magic flute of philosophical ideology more than an individual person leading the rat pack to the edge of the cliffs. While Trump himself is still a phenomenon, Biden and Bernie are certainly not casting charismatic spells upon the masses. Instead, the ideas of placing the needs of Americans either first or last, along with all sides claiming they are the ones fighting for the utopian American dream of equality along with liberty and justice for all regardless of one's faith, ethnicity or how much or little melanin may be in someone's skin cells. From the grand picture, both sides seem to want similar final ends, but their ways and means to get there are so vastly different it has caused a great political divide from which America may never recover.
There are many examples, each of which could be an entire article and discussion on its very own. Ideas such as crime prevention, taxes, freedom of speech, immigration, economics, energy, environmental protection, and more. Both sides have valid points and ones that are not realistic, and some are really nothing more than a pipe dream that will never happen if mortals who have temptations of pride, envy, jealousy and want for power and control are in charge.
The adage that knowledge is power is certainly true in these cases, and the best each of us can do is to stop blindly following those with personal agendas and perform our own research and then decide for ourselves what is best for us while remembering what may be best for us may not necessarily be best for the masses or for someone else. When we can do that, we can break the spells of the political magic flutes and be closer to being able to keep our freedom while achieving the end goal most of us desire - real togetherness and harmonious living. Until then, the vast majority will follow the piper right over the cliff.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications and the former director of the Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.