Role-playing games have been a long time hobby of mine. My friends and I have been at it long enough to be well beyond the hach-and-slash-might-as-well-be-a-computer-game stage and are into the acting and plot phase.
Recently we have been describing our characters with a domino analogy that sees characters in one of three ways:
1. Domino nudgers
2. Domino pushers
The dominoes are the people who simply remain passive with respect to events outside of their immediate lives. One day they might look up to see events suddenly barreling down on them and wonder what happened.
Domino nudgers are the plotters who arrange the dominoes so that they fall in the right way. These are the really clever folk who spend a great deal of time arranging for events.
Domino pushers are the ones who get events rolling by risking the irreversible actions and starting the chain reaction. Once the push happens, no one can fully control the result, and the pusher can only proceed with a best guess as to the results.
Looking beyond mere games, I've come to realize that George W. Bush is the first president since Reagan to be a pusher. That does not sit well with a lot of people. They preferred the constant nudge and counter-nudge that had passed for peace for the past twenty years, just like many preferred the nudge and counter-nudge of the Cold War as opposed to Reagan's push that ultimately cleared the board.
John Kerry promised to be another nudger. The problem with nudgers is that it allows someone else to make the first push, and that leaves even less control for the opposing nudgers. One might argue that the first pusher was bin Ladin and 9-11. Afganistan was the US falling as the next domino in the chain.
Iraq, on the other hand, was a different push in another direction. Pro-active rather than reactive. So far, I'm liking the results in net total. Now that the chain is falling, a few nudges here and there will have greater effects. OK, Sec State Rice, get out there and direct the flow.