By Robert A. Vella
Quail are some of the cutest birds you’ll ever see. They are timid little creatures who scurry through the underbrush grazing on seeds and insects. They make soft, chirpy sounds which are very pleasing to humans, and their ornately tasseled heads spring rhythmically back and forth as if mechanically controlled by a highly accurate atomic clock. Quail have good reason to be timid, for they are on the menu of a great many predators including Man.
After their babies are born, quail families stick closely together in a covey – a formation of coordinated movements resembling a school of fish. Whichever direction the parent moves, so do its offspring. It’s a survival adaptation designed to prevent any one individual from being isolated and vulnerable to predation.
An analogy to American politics seems fitting. At this midpoint in the 2016 presidential election campaign, it is the Season of the Quail – when the two major political parties rally followers behind their selected leaders. Like Quail, their most vital purpose is to keep the covey (party) together. Only secondarily are they motivated to beat a rival covey (party) in a race to seize a prized feeding ground (the presidency). If a baby quail strays too far from its covey when a predator is lurking, the parent will abandon it in order to save the rest.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
I love quail (not in the gastronomic sense), but I despise political parties. So did America’s founding father and first president George Washington (see: George Washington’s Farewell Address – The Constitution and political factions). Political parties are facilitators of corruption, pose existential threats to democracy, and weaken republican forms of government through distraction and divisiveness. While they cannot and must not be outlawed, the influence of political parties can be reduced by the will of the people. In 2016, this collective will has begun to assert itself much to the dismay of Democratic and Republican politicians alike.
On Wednesday, I suggested that the contested Democratic Party primary race was analogous to the political disaster of 1968. Although I was not the first to make such comparisons (see: here, here, here, and here), it elicited vigorous responses from partisan supporters and even appears to have attracted attention from the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. From The Hill – Pelosi defends Sanders: A ‘positive force’ for Dems:
Pelosi also rejected the comparisons some are making between the conflicts underlying this year’s primary contest and the violence that erupted during the Democratic National Convention in 1968, which she attended.
She characterized the 1968 gathering as “a colossal … clashing of people who had a completely different view about the [Vietnam] War and how we go forward.” The two political environments have “nothing in common,” she said, and conflating the contests is “ridiculous.”
“We were at war in Vietnam. That fueled the unhappiness,” she said. “That matter was handled in a way that was not appropriate.”
Pelosi said she’s encouraged by the enthusiasm Sanders has generated among his millions of supporters. Still, she said Democratic leaders also have a responsibility to convey to those new to the process “that there are rules that exist.”
(Fellow WordPress bloggers, connected people do read the crap we write!)
I refuse to be a timid little quail nor a political lemming for that matter. I will cast my ballot in November solely on the basis of how each candidate matches my philosophical principles. What you decide to do is your own affair.