An Improbable Parable of Potatoes!

The potato heads were in crisis!
If allowed to continue, the potato harvest would uproot entire families from their homes!
The notorious French Friar promised them all a warm reception…if only the potatoes would let themselves fall into his embrace. However, everyone knew that those the French Friar touched were never the same again. What could be done?
It was in this time of turmoil that a great leader arose in the world of potato heads.
Dick Tator was a wonderful specimen. Indeed, he was the finest potato head in his field. As he preened for the masses he promised his fellow potato heads a better future for them and their multitude of tator tots.
“If you elect me, if you give me total control, I can promise you that the farmers will no longer harvest us at will! And you can trust me, I am one of you! Not one of them!”
Most potatoes were content to lay where they were so this message appealed to them. Besides, they were greatly impressed by the good looking Dick Tator…and so, driven by fear, the potato heads elected him as their great leader.
The victory gala was a wonderful time of celebration and dreaming of a wonderful future. However, a few cynical citizens questioned the bags of potato chips that Dick Tator and his team were seen feasting from. These cynics were promptly shouted down as neigh sayers and negative nellies.
Yes, the victory gala was a grand time!
After his victory Dick Tator wasted no time taking control. Soon he and his fellow henchmen (er…committee for the improvement of society) had taken charge of the entire community of potato heads. In an effort to assure accountability, all matters related to the potato heads were now studied and approved by Dick Tator himself.
Since Dick Tator could only do a limited amount of work in a day, this ensured a very slow and cumbersome process of government. However, Dick Tator ensured them all that this was a great improvement to the previous way of doing things. Still content to lay in the dirt where they had been all their lives, the potatoes were happy to take his word for it.
In an effort to assure a more positive and uplifting atmosphere in the community, the cynics were silently moved to positions better suited to their attitudes. Indeed, it was rumored that the French Friar had taken them. However, Dick Tator assured everyone that this was not the case…and even if the French Friar had taken them…it would be for the best…nobody needed bad apples or bad potatoes lying around.
And so, everyone lived happily ever after…until September …when Dick Tator’s men began to harvest the field themselves. For a moment there was panic among the potato heads, however in a joint press conference with the French Friar, Dick Tator assured the remaining citizens that this was a controlled harvest, carried out by experts for the greater good of the field.
With these words of comfort ringing in their ears…and unable to take any collective action because of the cumbersome government they had created, the remaining potato heads let themselves be carried off to their fate.
Sadly, they were soon in hot water…and hot oil.
Soon the potato field where they had lived was empty.
Yet, Dick Tator and his men remained, counting their money…and feasting on bags of potato chips and french fries.There was nothing left of the vast field they had been given but they were in control and that was all that mattered.
***
Top down control is only useful if you are working on digging yourself a hole. When people are micromanaged and controlled the smart ones start looking for freedom.
Healthy communities are built from the bottom up when people are willing to work together for a greater good, when people are given freedom to innovate…and the the contributions of common citizens are valued.

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