As the violent statue war now rages, a nervous man scornfully watches from a distance. He doesn’t understand what the uproar is all about. After all, the bronze figures vanishing in the night represent characters that are long dead. He wishes the whole affair would likewise go away in the darkness.
The man takes great pride in the fact that he has never involved himself in these issues. All his life, he has neither categorically affirmed nor denied anything. He has never cried out for any rights, nor protested against any injustice. His life is marked by just being ordinary. He might properly be labeled the mediocre man.
The mediocre man only wants to keep the peace at all costs. He raises up moderation as the supreme (yet not too supreme) rule of thinking. He values common sense above all else. There is no principle that cannot be circumvented, (or statue taken down) in the interest of getting along with others.
The mediocre man hates things that make people reflect. He does not value crystalline logic and definition but prefers the muddy comfort of the swamp. He would rather take the middle ground by claiming there is a bit of good and bad in everything. However, he is quick to see more bad in the good while taking great pains to find the least good in the bad. Generally, he feels uncomfortable with the terms “good” and “bad,” which he judges judgmental.
That is why when something like the statue war breaks out, the mediocre man is truly troubled. The dispute stirs up the pseudo-tranquil waters of the swamp. People cannot make money or enjoy life when these issues take center stage. He will not enter into the core of the debate but simply argues that it is best to put the past behind us and go on to bigger and better things.
Of course, he will decry radical activism when violence strikes. Abrupt actions of any sort violate his sense of moderation. However, it does not take too much to perceive that his real sympathies lie with the statue topplers however violent they might be. The statue defenders are too rigid and categorical. The topplers appeal to his emotions and feelings of wanting everyone to get along.
Indeed, historically the mediocre man has always sided with the revolutionaries in the hopes that he might live unperturbed should a revolution come. He soon finds out that he is usually their first victim.
Thus, as the present debate rages, the mediocre man plays a major role. His inaction facilitates the statue topplers by failing to help rouse a wave of outrage against these acts of historical revisionism. His hidden sympathies for the protesters provide cover for cowardly politicians and businessmen who grovel to the politically correct narrative that decrees the statues be removed and history be erased. The mass media presents the “commonsensical” demands of the protesters to appeal to the mediocre man.
When statues are toppled, a good part of the blame can be laid upon the mediocre man that gave in without even debating the principles involved.
The mediocre man perhaps takes comfort from the fact that there will never be a monument erected in his honor. He has taken great pains to do nothing extraordinary to merit such an action. Ironically, there can be no better expression of the mediocre man than the empty pedestals that he helped create. They now stand in parks nationwide as a monument to his inaction.