[Bilde:100619_152739_0.png]A Modest Proposal -
As I don't drive a car anymore, I get to pedal my stationary bike a great
deal. Somehow the landscape changes. Of course, the differences are
pretty obvious. But then again, while riding off into the sunset that
goes nowhere, I also get to read a great deal - almost always on my iPad.
I'm not much wiser for all the pedaling - now twice around the globe - but
maybe I've learned something from all the reading.
American politics have changed, and with changes should come new labels
and new models. The differences between what it means to be a Democrat or
a Republican seem not to matter at all ideologically, and it would be hard
to identify either of them from any set of random statements. One
candidate says this but means that, another claims this without knowing
that. While the difference in parties seems so minimal, I do detect a new
kind of political alignment, an alignment based on behaviors rather than
reflective thought. Let's rename American political parties to reflect
And in keeping with the American tradition of representing political
affiliations via animal totems, it seems that our new affiliations, based
on behavior rather than thought, fall into three groups represented by
three different animal personas.
First, we have the party of the Mad Rhinos. Members of this party are
affronted by any movement before them, stamp their feet, stir up a lot of
dust, and then typically lower their head and go for the straight charge.
An instinctual behavior, their actions are more to do with removing a
problem or impediment rather than finding any solution. And, they are
powerful. Who with any sensibility would try to stop an enraged Mad Rhino?
Better to stand aside, and at least save yourself. But the damage done
by a Mad Rhino can be extreme - a landscape ripped asunder, innocent
victims, and an angry Mad Rhino can render the fabric of civil society
The second party group is diametrically opposite the aggressive Mad Rhino.
The party of the Oblivious Ostrich finds witnessing and confronting any
dilemma too much to bear. It's as if the deliberate considerations of
thought turn off a switch in the brain and the Oblivious Ostrich party
members thrust their heads in the sand, hoping that either the problem
will disappear or that the attack of the Mad Rhino will miss their
quavering derrieres. And of course, when asked for comment, the Oblivious
Ostrich mumbles something in the sand - and whatever that is, the
reverberations are incomprehensible. It is far easier for the Oblivious
Ostrich to run from a confrontation or retreat to a sand pile than face
the reality that as the world changes, someone has to think of new
While the Mad Rhinos and the Oblivious Ostriches are disturbing political
behaviors, the most foul of all the parties are those representing the
Cagey Corbies. In winter in Maine, when most of the song birds leave for
warmer climates (smart they are!), we are left with crows, magpies,
ravens, and corbies. I just lump them all into the corbie category and
sometimes say that winter in Maine can be represented by three black
corbies sitting on a leafless branch silhouetted by a gray sky. But,
corbies live on - and we see them surviving by eating at the dump,
stopping by the roadside on a snowy evening to wolf up road kill,
attacking garbage, and finding almost any already dead thing to feast
upon. As a political party, the Cagey Corbies wait for the rampages of
the Mad Rhinos, the detritus left behind by the Oblivious Ostriches, and
enjoy and profit from what others avoid. These profit mongers may be the
most sensible - as why not profit from what others leave behind? With an
open eye to opportunism, the Cagey Corbies live very well indeed, moving
from one political change to another.
Of course, there will be some who would reject my proposal - that's to be
expected. I can however imagine that a convention of Mad Rhinos would be
a spectacle to watch - as cleasrly the most agile and strongest gets the
nomination for the party. And a convention of Oblivious Ostriches might
not be such a spectacle, but would surely provide a spot for quiet
reflection and might even yield some underground insights. And, well,
while I personally wouldn't want to attend the convention of Cagey
Corbies, we would at least quickly discover the tastiest tidbits of
And I see a benefit for our children, - as it's always about how children
learn. For the first time, children would be able to associate the animal
with the party's political agenda. What's that donky signal anyway? What
six year old wouldn't understand the political manifesto of a Mad Rhino?
Wouldn't such a system be easier to teach? And students would no longer
have to ferret out the real agenda from the propaganda, recognizing
quickly that a wild attack by a Mad Rhino might be a resurgence of
neo-fascism, while stalling a bill in Congress might very well be an
mandate of the Oblivous Ostrich party.
Would we all be better off to see things as they are - to recognize that
our political systems are the result of the interactions of these three
parties, and retire the donkeys and elephants to the political zoo? I
always wonder what Jefferson would have thought.