Far, far away, high in the rolling, jungle-clad hills of the Golden Triangle north of Chiang Mai in the farthest reaches of Thailand is a small village. This village appears to be of considerable inspiration to the rulers of our Mountain Kingdom, so much so that there is talk of a sister city, yet another to add to our sisters in Zimbabwe and Moab, Utah. The name of this village is Mee Too.
Mee Too is renowned for the reputation it has gained by picking up the causes and initiatives of others and carrying the torch for them as if it were their own. Mee Too has discovered over the years that there are warm and fuzzy feelings to be had with very little effort by simply endorsing the passionate opinions of others. The issues may have little if any relevance to their own community, and generally little thought is given to the potential implications of where such issues might lead.
How easy it is to ‘earn’ a reputation for doing the right thing by simply espousing political causes and organized campaigns without having to do the work. And there are so many of these causes: power projects on mountain rivers, genetically modified foods, nuclear energy, stem cell research, the oil sands, the fate of blue whales, even nibbling on the heart of a dead seal. What could be next? Oh the power of voting for such causes with the deluded assumption that they represent the views of the community as a whole; so intoxicating; so warm and fuzzy.
Unfortunately Mee Too is a declining village in a declining province in a troubled country. Its economy is decimated by the decline of its major industry, the growing of a particular plant said to have wondrous healing powers. The Golden Triangle is losing its lustre. Yet the rulers of Mee Too continue to be distracted by various and sundry causes, for now they have this reputation amongst those who seek to change the world in various ways: Mee Too is with us, Mee Too will support us, Mee Too will do as we ask.
Perhaps the rulers of the Mountain Kingdom should reconsider such a relationship. Moab is certainly harmless enough and certainly has relevance to our community. Zimbabwe has its problems, but at least it serves as a reminder of what can happen when rulers assume absolute power in representing the presumed views of the populace. Whereas Mee Too is a diversion, seductively sucking you into believing that supporting the cause celebre of the day is actually doing something useful for the community rather than focusing on the job you were elected to do.