This morning I sat idly with my cup of excellent coffee and watched the juncos hopping about in their petty wars outside my window. I love their pink bills and feet, and the way they look as though they take baths in white paint, with a neat waterline marking the beginning of their serious dark grey suits. Their footprints trace intricate and delicate patterns around the patio and the yard.
Sam the Cat sees them as a challenge. He is about 17 years old now and still surprisingly spry. Mostly he goes twitchy and they fly away.
Juncos are a free source of entertainment – well, we buy bird food for the feeders, but not all birds are equally entertaining. Juncos have quantity on their side, and their antics are generally interactive. They zoom across the near landscape like living confetti on a breeze. Each steadfastly pursues his own agenda and seems oblivious of the greater body of juncos, squabbling with those who interfere with the immediate task.
Humans are perhaps more amusing, but as a member of the flock, I’m mostly chagrined and discouraged. The squabbles of birds are here and gone, but the squabbles of those around me have consequences that last. At a personal level, the divisiveness of our culture can result in people taking to their Personal Devices to talk to their Imaginary Friends who all agree with them. It’s the high school clique carried to its logical conclusion. Don’t like Them. They aren’t like Us. Like Those Others. They are who We want to be.
At a larger level, our squabbles lead to impulsive, managed decisions. We are not acting in our own best interests as a nation or on a more local level. We’re willing to believe slogans instead of examining actions. Political races are really PR campaigns, as everyone knows, and we’re being sold – what was that old slogan? – “A Bill of Rights, a bill of wrongs, a bill of goods.”
If we keep buying it, maybe we deserve it. But my grandbabies don’t, and the fallout will end up getting all over them. Perhaps politics should follow the Hippocratic Oath: “First do no harm”; or the Wiccan “An ye harm none”; or even the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” At the very least, we need to look past our own terms of office to the next generations. Seven is a good number.
Well, enough. It started with the juncos. Or actually, with the sandwiches that I was making this morning when I began to muse on the idea of a specialty sandwich for each presidential candidate. What would I put in each one?
I began with White Bread and lots of Lettuce, then added Turkey Baloney. At that point I paused. Didn’t take long to see that sandwich works for darn near every candidate out there.
So slap whatever label you want on whatever brand you think you’re buying. Read the ingredients list, and check out the outcomes of earlier products. Nothing is staler than yesterday’s bread, true, but you’re buying the recipe here, not just the loaf they’re selling. I’m afraid that my Political Special Sandwich is entirely too apt entirely too often.
I suggest you buy some bird seed and watch juncos while you ruminate.