Followers

The city, with all its bustling of people here and there.  A convention center, shining with glass, balconies, and spacious halls.  Inside, a crowd, split down the middle, shouting, chanting.  Podiums on the stage, and booming voices.  A debate rages.  This candidate proselytizes, and the left side of the room cheers.  That candidate rebuts, and the right side of the room applauds.  And everywhere, everywhere there is vitriol: a room full of those who love to hate.

In the corner, away from the lights, a small group huddles together, sheltering themselves from the pushing of the crowd and the stench of the unwashed masses.  They came seeking solace, seeking information and enlightenment about the future, but what they received was a war.  In principle they support one of the camps, but after hearing the lash of the tongues and seeing the fingering of holsters on hips, they wonder if either side is more virtuous than the other.

They sneak out, quietly, while the crowds roil and shout for and against.  Down the hallways with their booths, their display tables, down the wide front steps, and out away from the madness.  They find a small cafe, several blocks away, and sit down in a corner booth.  A jaunty tune plays on the jukebox.  They order humble sandwiches, lemonade, soda pop, water.  Together, they share a small toast for their core faith, sadly represented in neither of the platforms within that debate hall.  They eat in peace, sharing friendly words about the future.  They pay their bill, leave a tip, and go about their lives.

These are the true followers.  These are the soul of belief, the foundation buried beneath the earth whom casual observers will never see.  They are a quiet sort, keeping to themselves; they do not loudly trumpet for the new cause, nor do they vehemently tear down the new and champion the old.  They have their own opinion, and even share it with those who would care to listen, but they make no effort to shout it loudly, and so in a sea of differing opinions and rhetoric their voice is lost.  They do not complain, they do not wish idly, and they do not wait for word from on high.

Instead, they work.  They practice what they believe is right amidst criticism, because they know it is the right thing to do.  They do the best they can with what they have, and waste no effort wishing what they have would be better.  These are the men and women who walk the walk, rather than wasting breath talking it, because they know there is no shortage of talk in the world.  They keep the spirit alive when the body sickens; a candle in the dark forest for a lost soul.  And on the backs of these men and women, empires are built.  They will never be rewarded nor recognized for their labor by the masses, nor do they ask for either, nor do they expect to receive either.

If you know them, if you can recognize them in a crowd, thank them.  Thank them for fighting the good fight.  Thank them for bearing the burden.  Thank them for keeping chivalry and integrity alive.  They need thanks more than most, and they are those that will appreciate thanks more than most.

And if you are them, I thank you.

{Once more, a very specific topic I have a very specific opinion on is generalized and made profound, because I believe that any topic at its core is rooted in the same social and moral principles.}

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