Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Politics and pride

A wise man once said: “never discuss politics or religion over dinner; it spoils the digestion.” Folks, I intend to break both of those rules over the next few weeks, so hold on to your biscuits…

We are spectators currently in the midst of the most exciting political run for the Presidency of the United States that this country has seen in quite a few years. It started with the bid for the Democratic nomination featuring a well-educated, familiar, and politically savvy woman squaring off against a newcomer to the national arena in the form of the well-educated, politically active African American man. Both brought to the table much insight, compassion, and the desire to serve their country in the highest office of the land. And I think it is safe to say that regardless of your political affiliation, it was an interesting and thought provoking race - one that the drafters of the Constitution quite possibly could never have imagined coming to pass: a political race between the last two groups of individuals to be granted the right to vote within this country.

Now the Democrats have made their choice and the race for the Presidency has taken on a new fervor. The next few months stand to be pretty exciting.

Frankly I am reminded at this point in the race of the long-gone television show, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which featured an older distinct Marlon Perkins who narrated from the safety of the studio while his co-host Jim Fowler (who, by the way, is a native of Albany, Ga.) wrestled crocodiles in the Nile and Anacondas in the Amazon Basin or sometimes just tried to outrun a cheetah or gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. If you are over forty you remember these scenes with Marlon in the background saying something entertaining like: “Look out Jim, Nile crocodiles have enough force in their jaws when closing to snap a man’s spine.” This narration likely took place as the younger Jim was thrashing around, legs wrapped around the croc, prying its mouth open as the creature attempted some fantastic death roll. The most stunning and visually disturbing episode I remember watching as a child was the special on lions. There was the grizzled male lion guarding the pride, when out of nowhere a young male lion in the throes of “lion-hood” attempted to take over. The catfight that ensued was magnificent with claws swiping this way and that, rendering flesh open while tails swished and guttural growls filled the air. Soon the fight was over and (depending on the show) the young male took off, tail tucked between his legs growling over his shoulder in a vow to fight another day. Or... the fight was over and the older lion - bloodied and limping - sidled out of the cameras view into the high grass and collapsed, utterly defeated.

Just as with the lion pride, the candidates are also racing against one another to be the ultimate representative of America’s “pride.” While both men have much to offer in the way of leadership and fresh ideas about the direction in which the country needs to turn, in the end only one can stay, watching the defeated walk proudly (no limping allowed) into the sunset to run another day. And while it would be nice (if not entertaining) to have a grandfatherly Perkins to narrate this race with calm insightful phrases such as: “Lookout Jim, those polls, when closed, will guarantee a result to be lived with for at least the next four years,” I am afraid we are on our own, folks.

So I ask that as you go forth in the near future to cast your ballot, be mindful of the sacrifices and service that the old lion has given both on native soil and foreign. Be considerate of the young lion who is beginning what we can only hope is years of public service. Both lions are deserving of the pride's consideration, and prayers as they make this run for the top.

God Bless the USA

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary tech in the Department of Veterinary Science.

No comments: