Cow Tales by Kenny Barrett: Barnyard Politics
December 17, 2012
The tailgate conversation has routinely settled on politics following the recent presidential election. The implications of millions of ballots will be unveiled over the coming years. I am proud to count myself amongst the many Americans that participated. But quite frankly I think the whole process stinks no matter if you are on the left or the right.
Lately it seems the two parties are preoccupied in a verbal horse race. Leaders from each party take turns lashing with rehearsed ideological rhetoric forged into oral quirts. Sure they make a lot of noise but no real damage is done. No real good seems to come from it either, just a lot of noise. Unfortunately it is a race in which there is no winner. Around each corner is another straightaway; they are running in circles on a never ending track. We're left feeling dizzy and uncertain who to bet on. With politics, as at the track, you're never too far from a horse, especially their backside, and you can usually smell where they've been if you know what I mean.
I wonder what kind of politics happen around the barnyard? Sure the herd is hoping for a liberal feeding. The bulls are fervent for a less conservative bull to cow ratio for the coming spring. But would we all be better off without the people in Washington and instead operated as a herd? I can imagine a system in which the cows naturally divide into smaller groups. Some groups favor the lush meadows where the social scene is happening. Others take the high country spreading thin in search of economic fodder. The herd is fissured but pauses briefly on a regular basis to come together and select a herd boss. Each group assembles and elects a chicken, a ewe, an ass, or some other barnyard denizen to represent them. Perhaps larger groups of cows are allotted more than one representative. They may choose 13 mules while the next opts for a flock of ducks. The representative animal college, sworn to uphold the cow's interests, assembles to determine the boss cow. It would seem the larger groups have a quack advantage with more representatives. Interestingly, even though a large group has more representatives, the cow that wandered in from the back forty is assured three representatives as a minimum. This ensures the interests of the smaller groups are not overlooked without ignoring the herd consensus.
The Founding Fathers bit off quite a little in that early bull pen, a lot was at stake. The electoral college was an attempt to balance a popular vote with ballots cast by a federation of states. I can appreciate both points of view. A popular vote seems so simple and straight forward. On the other hand, isn't the federal government supposed to represent the interests of the states equally? After all, are we not a federation of states united? So the electoral college doesn't seem so evil. What I can't sort out is why winning margins seem so narrow? When was the last time the nation didn't seem so polarized?
I think the trouble is with the current two-party system and the politics of how each party selects its candidates. New creative solutions seem hard to find. It seems everyone has a plan, which they can't explain. Is that because the problems are so complex? Maybe the answers are too intricate. The answer is likely a combination but the political mess has become commonplace throughout government. More political banter with little action. They pass bills so large even they don't know what they contain.
What we really need is a lead steer. Someone to look after the collective interests of our herd of states. After all, we are gregarious. The lead steer isn't necessarily the most glamorous animal in the herd but they do stand out, just not in Hollywood fashion. It is a subtle confidence and a calm unwavering disposition that encourages the herd to follow. A proper lead animal is often not in the front but near the front with a group of go-getters surging ahead. The lead steer is a statesman that sees the big picture across both fruitful and less productive seasons and looks out for the herd steering the group toward greener pastures. Where have all the statesmen gone? Where is our lead steer? For now I am cautiously optimistic our government can set aside partisan politics and work toward national solutions. Our future depends on it.
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