While the tale of the tape suggests that, in a democratic battle, the majority opinion will dominate against a passionate minority, the reality is far different.
In one corner, a small set of citizens stand poised to pounce whenever their issue comes into the public discussion. They are passionately armed with a do-or-die approach. They'll fight squarely as well as beg, borrow, fake, manipulate or steal any fact or opinion they can to bolster support... acting with a passion that makes many shudder and dismiss them as fanatics. The passionate minority hops up and down, tossing practice jabs and jawing at the crowd. They are pumped-up for the fight. No matter how hard they get knocked down, they'll get right back up and keep punching as though their life depended on winning.
In the other corner, the massive passive majority drapes both arms across the ropes. Weighing many times more than the passionate minority, the majority confidently assumes that just by clearing his throat he will surely win. Yes, this fight counts. But there are hundreds of fighters right behind, other issues to think about, planes to catch and bills to pay.
The referee's only stake in the game is to get paid. He knows another match will start soon after this one ends, featuring the passive majority against a different passionate minority, battling over a different topic. The referee smiles as the bell rings.
Round 1: The passionate minority jumps out of the corner. He throws a valid argument then mixes in a few distracting false statements. The passive majority is caught flat-footed and confused, unsure of the truth. A series of fact jabs is then followed by a wild combo of exaggerations and downright lies. The passive majority is bewildered, unaware of where to turn. The bell sounds for the end of round 1.
Round 2: The passionate minority is at it again. The passive majority barely gets out of the corner. The majority tries grabbing the minority in the clutch, squeaking about compromise and reasonable people finding middle ground. The minority pounds a hard statement about patriotism and loving freedom. Hitting the majority squarely in the eyes, the minority shouts "only I can protect America's future."
Round 3: As the bell rings, the majority is still sitting on the stool watching a new reality show. The majority steps out of the ring to get a better view of the wide screen, high definition TV with quadraphonic surround sound hoping to see the big game that's starting soon. The referee counts "1, 2, 3..." The passive majority barely notices being counted out, too riveted by the Kardashians, Beyonce, and Snooki. The passionate minority jumps up in victory.
The referee awaits the next fight. A different passionate minority steps into the ring ready to battle over their favorite issue. The referee taps the passive majority on the shoulders, gently inquiring, "Will you be putting down you're Cheetos, Big Mac and Diet Coke to fight or would you prefer to not get in the ring for this one?"
"This is a great episode. The Real Housewives are going on Dancing With the Stars and then later the NBA Finals start. Let's just pretend I didn't hear the opening bell and you just count me out of this fight."
"Will I still get paid?" the ref inquires.
"Of course. After all, we are living in America, a beacon of democracy and capitalism."
Follow Howard Steven Friedman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/howardsfriedman