Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Doing the Impossible Takes a Little Bit Longer
People who have long been in the struggle to preserve these horses have expressed the thought that unification of the registries would benefit the horses but that it is not doable. Those who think that there is something unique about this issue should consider a look at a wider range of human history.
Splintering, divisiveness, the emergence of leaders with strong personalities, an innate desire to declare the horses of others to be unworthy of recognition, there is nothing about these problems in the mustang preservation effort that has not been part and parcel of a range of revolutions throughout history.
Crane Brinton recognized that certain patterns emerge as movements progress from being a wish, to a plan, to a revolution, to trying to govern. Revolutions often turn on their leaders after gaining power and expel, sometime with deadly force, those leaders. Consider the fates of Robespierre, Trotsky, Sadeg Ghotsedeh, Abul Hassan Banni-Sadr, Gorbachev, Chiang Chi-Shek, and a host of other leaders of revolutions in history, some good, many bad, all discarded by their followers.
Divisiveness and splintering are natural in all revolutionary movements, both because of a human desire for power, but more importantly because of the claim that only one sect represents the true faith and that the others are pretenders,at best, and heretics at worst. Consider the earliest history of Christianity. Constant infighting over issues of dogma, leadership, and most importantly which sect was the keeper of the true faith. Consider the Reformation and the splintering that occurred that lead to the establishment of many of the Protestant churches.
The search for meaning and definition in every movement leads to divisiveness. There cannot be an "us" if there is no "them." Groups too often define themselves by simply asserting that they are not members of the heretical "them."
The bottom line is that there is absolutely nothing unique about leaders of the mustang preservation movement. However, as Brinton pointed out, there was at least one revolution that broke the pattern and that was the American Revolution. Somehow, moderate leaders who made up the 'second generation" of revolutionaries were able to work out compromises that allowed for a birth of freedom that the world had never seen.
The same can happen with the mustang preservation movement. Moderate leaders who seek compromise instead of control can bring about unification. (I have utterly no interest in becoming one of those leaders. Perhaps I am a bit hypocritical when I call on others to set aside their differences and do the hard work of unification when I am not willing to do so myself. I recognize that I am not George Washington, but I can be Thomas Paine.)
And what of the important details? Does unification mean merger, absorption, or dissolution? These are all matters that would have to be worked out by leaders of good faith on both sides. That is why I proposed the baby steps set out in the previous post. The unified structure could take many different forms and each would be an improvement over our current system. I will be throwing out one possibility of a structure in a future post, but it will only be that, a possible structure--not the only workable solution.
Dianne W. asks the very good question of me as to whether or not I register my Bankers with the SMR in response to my call for the registries to urge cross registration. At this time the SMR registration rules for the wild horses of Corolla require expenses that I am not willing to incur. However, Ta Sunka Witco is registered with both registries and the AIHR. At this point I urge cross registration of all horses currently eligible for registration.
Unification will require a tremendous exercise of decorum and discretion on the part of anyone involved in talks toward that end. For example, I have refused to take the bait and respond in any way to those who have never seen a Corolla wild horse yet feel qualified to declare them to be non-Spanish.
Unification and preservation requires that we all pay great attention to our faces. We must learn to hold our tongues and keep our eyes on the prize.
Posted by Steve Edwards