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Why am I a Fool?

The foolLike the tarot card “fool” from Medieval times, being the fool is the first action before all others. One can not be the King or Queen without first being the fool. The fool is the first step to learning, taking on, and beginning something new. How does one feel when taking a first step? Foolish.

The tarot card shows the fool in bright colors taking a step over a cliff. A dog is a companion. The fool has a weird sort of faith and trust (like the dog) in the universe. What the fool doesn’t have, symbolic in the vitality of bright colors, is fear. While the fool learns and grows in taking risks, others point at and mock the fool while staying in their comfort zones of fear. Critics badger the fool, when inside they wish to be the King (be successful, have a following) but cannot bear to be the fool.

  • The fool in me gets me to raise my hand in a classroom, while the room bears down on me to be quiet, fit in, and pretend that I know what I don’t.
  • The fool in me is the part that wins out when I go to a new town, a new country.
  • Fools try new and different foods.
  • The fool lets me go where I’m not the majority in: language, culture, color.
  • The fool is the part of me that urges me to step over the comfort line. It urges me to use my voice when no one else does.
  • The fool in me picks up the paint brush or designs a 3D sculpture. No art, no imagination would exist without the fool.
  • The fool dares to dream and then make that dream a reality.
  • The fool gets on the stage.
  • The fool writes; every word chosen with integrity comes from the fool’s mouth.
  • The fool makes mistakes, the greatest learning tool there is.

A very short list of fools I admire are Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, DaVinci, Mozart, Bredesen (he’s investing in ethanol, to be made right here in Tennessee!), Jim Carrey. I admire the fool in all of the people I know. They cross the line, they disagree, they take a stand, they create (very foolish), they enjoy, they share and they dare to love. Fools create a new path and they start on it alone. Sometimes they get followers and sometimes that happens immediately.

What inspired me to write this is a quote of Donald Red Bear Watkins: “If one claims to be in a leadership role and has NO followers one will look into the mirror and see the reflection of a fool”. The sentence seems to suggest a good/bad, either/or situation; either a (good) leader with followers, or a (bad) fool.

There hasn’t been a political action I have led that hasn’t started with the feeling that I am a fool. And it’s surprising to me how much we have done and helped others to do in this community, whether we had a large following or not.

I am thankful for Donald’s article as I know what I want to see in the mirror. I want to see the fool. And I will pass on mob mentality and remain a fool, as long as I am not threatened with death about it. Hence, it is of great importance to protect the rights we are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States.

The fool, not the King standing behind his followers, pushes through fear on his/her own and takes a first step into action.

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.


  1. Well Donald,
    If you’re going to point fingers at them, you may as well be pointing at me. If only I could immulate them better. But I never wanted to be a leader and I’ll bet that inside them, they feel the same way. There is something that grabs ahold of some of us and says, “You can’t sit around and complain and not DO something.” That’s when a regular, everyday person starts to get involved, originates actions that help others and tries to get people who feel the same way to do something too. Being a leader is not that complicated. It does involve good communication skills and a lot of pushing in a nice way. And not going into despair. The lack of involvement on crucial issues is really upsetting. Martin Luther King was able to gather people in worthy causes and that is quite amazing. I get the feeling that we’re all waiting for another Dr. Martin in order to do something. But he’s not here and we have to find the unlikely heros in ourselves.
    Terry McMoore has done so much for this community. If I had a list of things he has gone to, organized, and spoke out about, it would fill several pages. He originates wonderful actions for all of us, I bet you have no idea! I have pure respect for the man and his family. They are my heros.
    I only ask myself, how can I support his actions more? To be truly free, everyone has to be free and since I too grew up in a prejudice home, it is my choice and responsibility to face, in order to release, my own fears and programming about black people, Indians, Arabs, etc. and embrace the fact that we are all unique people. I believe that to look at anybody as less remarkable than myself is a really big mistake.

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