A Modest Proposal

[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 reality. 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 into shreds. 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 solutions. 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 political garbage. 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.
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