I was still a pre-teen when my father first said it.  “You’re an INSTIGATOR.”  I don’t know if I really understood what an instigator was at that point; oh, I knew the word, but the implications were far from clear.

He was right, you know.  Instigator - dictionary dot comThere is this part of me that has never pulled back from confrontation.  I don’t like arguing, but I’m not afraid to raise an ugly point to get conversations started, or get a ball rolling, or to precipitate a response.

I wasn’t always eager for that role; but I daresay that it’s a role I have naturally fallen into more times than I care to count and without so much as a conscious thought.  It just happens!

Instigator - houghton mifflin I suspect that my Facebook friends think I’ve gone off the deep end.  Specially as regards the U.S. political situation.  But I refuse to normalize the abnormal.  The guy who rarely commented in years past about politics at all has become a haranguing harpie.  Why?  Because not enough people are standing up to say, “this is not normal, government should not be injuring the bulk of the governed, government should not be giving preferential treatment to those with the greatest means support themselves and taking away from those who are most in need.  CEO’s should not be making thousands of times more than their workers.  Corporations should be paying taxes and no matter how good their tax attorneys they should not be able to avoid taxes altogether.  The worker making $10.00 or $20.00 an hour should not be subsidizing the CEO making thousands of dollars an hour.Instigator - urban dictionary

An instigator can simply be someone who keeps things moving — to urge or goad on, as it were.  But an instigator can also be the person who escalates a situation.  I’m not sure I’m “that guy” but only time will tell.  The prophets of the Old Testament were all instigators.  God’s word to his people was rarely (if ever) lauditory.  He didn’t congratulate them on how successfully they had followed his instructions because most of the time (all of the time) they hadn’t done such a good job.  So God put prophets outside the city walls who did strange things — who appeared crazy and possessed — to gain enough attention to listen to the message — which wasn’t all that easy to hear.

In 2018 it seems no one is saying the things no one wants to hear.  Politicians certainly are hiding behind their party and hiding behind their donors.  Even the same Republicans who used to cry out for a balanced budge have given up their cry in an effort to mollify their donors who threaten to shut off their donations.  In 2018 life for politicians is no longer about governing it’s about fund raising for their future and making friends who will hire them if they ever lose their congressional jobs. I can’t think of any worse kind of “representative” to have in government than one who puts himself before his/her constituents.

The problem with being an instigator is that you risk losing your audience.  I’m sure I am playing the same game as anyone else.  I can piss people off so much that they stop listening.  But does that mean that I should stop speaking words that need saying?  I don’t think so.

The shootings at Parkland — which I have not hitherto commented upon — offer some hope for the future.  Our cycle of shootings – outrage – boredom – shooting – outrage – boredom may be ready to change; sometimes the times just have to be right, or ripe, or horrible enough to make a change. I hope that has happened now, or is happening.  We’ll see.

In the meantime I guess I go on being an instigator and talking about things I think need talking about.



6 thoughts on “Instigator

  1. Instigator is a curious designation. I agree with your premise but struggle with concluding it somehow labels you an instigator. I’m of a mind to conclude any American who doesn’t instigate dialogue is a facilitator and that’s far more troubling. 🙂


      1. Oh my goodness, I hope you know how much I value your instigating nature. But for people like you – good, kind, decent Americans whose moral fibre recognizes common sense, compassion and reason over immovable partisan ideology and self serving corporate propaganda for profit – America would have imploded long ago. Biggest of hugs.


      2. Those of us who blog, and who know the unique challenges associated with that process are sometimes our best mutual encouragement.

        For one of the only times in my life I find this latest life-transition to be the hardest of all. With more time on my hands I’m forced to confront issues I would rather have ignored for most of my life and just how to go about what lies ahead is like chasing that chicken with it’s head cut off around the basement!


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just wondering how I can follow your Facebook page – I so enjoy your insight!

    On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 6:02 AM, Life Unscripted wrote:

    > Peter posted: “I was still a pre-teen when my father first said it. > “You’re an INSTIGATOR.” I don’t know if I really understood what an > instigator was at that point; oh, I knew the word, but the implications > were far from clear. He was right, you know. There is this” >


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