Monday, August 24, 2015

Minority Report

The notion of a so-called "Minority Report" is an interesting one. It is a term typically associated with a formal statement written by politicians on the losing side of a vote. Sometimes when the majority party passes some new piece of legislation, the leaders of the minority group will prepare a document detailing their objections to the new bill. It is not clear to me who the intended audience of such a work actually is, but I assume that they can be used for ammunition during the next election cycle and also for the losers to vent some of their pent up frustration with the system. Today I summarize my own version of a minority report, but from a decidedly non-political point of view. I would like to think that while my point of view might not get me an invitation to good-time Johnnie's calvacade of fun, that I am not representing the loser's platform.

Throughout my life I have been witness time and again to folks making not only ill-informed choices based on absolutely clouded reasoning, but folks taking actions because their "buddies" goad them into behaving against their upbringing and the values that they have been taught. The notion of peer pressure has been around a long time and its sometimes subtle effects have led so many folks astray. Although I have made my fair share of stupid choices over the years, thankfully very few have been the result of such external forces.

Kids are typically associated with the effects of peer pressure - underage drinking, teenage sex, drugs, cheating in school, vandalism, and bullying. However, grown-ups fall into their own traps of peer pressure. Overspending, gambling, adultery, petty competitions, silly feuds. I think that when you can learn to be comfortable with who you are, without the need for validation from your peers, you can live life marked by character and integrity. However, too often these terms are associated with the uncool and the unpopular. Most folks would rather knuckle under to make unwise choices rather than wear such labels. As for me, I have always been more than satisfied to proceed down my own road even if that means I travel alone.