By Sue Murphy
I had a double snake encounter last week and, as I get ready for Halloween, that’s as scared as I want to get. My knee-jerk reaction was to put a For Sale sign in my front yard and start looking for an antiseptic condo, and I might have done it, too, except that, later that day, I looked down to find a large brown insect calmly making his way onto the armrest of my rocker. It was a praying mantis, one of those elegant, gangly creatures who walk around on their elbows. I sat very still so as not to disturb him, and at one point, he turned around and looked directly at me, which was chilling in a wonder and awe sort of way.
I needed that.
The back-to-back incidents reminded me that nature is not all snakes. It also set me to thinking about the upcoming election (Stay with me here.). With Nov. 3 only a few days away, I’m sure that you’ve noticed the political rhetoric has gotten a bit … well, snaky. Both sides of the political fence are brandishing their verbal assault rifles and Big Bad Wolf bazookas, trying to convince you that, unless you vote their way, life as you know it is over.
Given the 2020 litany of woes, you’d think we couldn’t be scared any more than we already are, but by golly, these seasoned campaign officials are doing their best to bring the entire country to its emotional knees.
This is not helpful. It’s a far cry from the kind, responsible (grown-up) behavior we’re going to need going forward.
I understand that when your back is up against the wall, you would dearly love for there to be a recognizable THEM you can blame and denigrate and send to bed without their supper. No matter which side of the fence you look at, it’s sadly comforting to think of them all as snakes, but in your heart of hearts, you know that’s not true.
More important than that, no matter who wins Nov. 3, the sun will come up Nov. 4, and if we’re still standing there with our hatred in our hands, we’re in for a rough time. I think we can all agree that there are legitimate snakes – COVID-19, racism, unemployment, not to mention a certain squatty dictator who likes to shoot off missiles whenever he gets bored – that will require our undivided attention.
Undivided. Say it with me. Instead of continuing on our current Us-and-Them-of-A trajectory, we should do everything we can to move on to a better US-of-A place.
I realize using the praying man- tis as a hope-rendering example might be a stretch, seeing as she eats her mate and all, so how about we change our nature analogy to think of turtles or butterflies or the duck-billed platypus. Now, there’s an interesting critter. And just to kick things off in an US direction, I’m going to make my circle bigger to include the snakes. That’s right. You heard it here first. There has to be room for everybody.
It just seems that if we could look to our left and our right and recognize the other people whose backs are also against the wall, we would be much more likely to effect the changes we so desperately need. I’d say we should join hands, but right now we could start with a sincere but socially distanced nod and see if we can get ourselves back on track. The Good Old US of A.
We need that.