In the US, Elephant and Donkey Are Really Goats — Fable Reveals

How is it possible that Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama wasn’t a “gimme”?

Once the goats have grazed, a certain spirit of liberty awakens and sends them in search of their fortunes. They take off to the far reaches of their pastures, those less frequented by humans. Attracted by any spot without path or trail, obstructed by rock, even an overlook that hangs on a precipice, that’s where our goats promenade their caprices. Nothing can stop these agile wanderers.

Two white-footed goats thus emancipating, leave the low fields, each on their own. One toward the other they head by chance. They meet a stream, a plank for bridge. Two weasels could barely pass each other on this bridge. Not to mention that the swift current and the deep waters should make our amazons tremble in fear.

Despite so many dangers, one puts her foot on the plank. And the other does the same. I imagine that I am watching Louis XIV of France and Philip IV of Spain concluding the Treaty of the Pyrenees. So our adventurers advance step for step, nose to nose.

Both are extraordinarily proud and as they reach the middle of the bridge, neither cedes to the other. They inhabit the glory of their race (from what history tells us). One claims kinship with a certain goat without peer, she who was a gift from the cyclops Polyphemus to the sea nymph Galatea. The other claims as ancestor the goat Amalthea, who nourished the baby Zeus.

Unwilling to back up, their downfall is mutual. Both fall in the water.

This accident is hardly new on Fortune’s path.

The story wasn’t new in Jean de La Fontaine’s day. Just as it wasn’t new when Dr. Seuss wrote his version of this same story in one of my favourites, The Zax. I might have used this fable to frame my thinking around our current Zax-y goats, Trump and Kim Jong Un, but this Roy Moore business has been on my mind.

One of the perils of the two-party system (as opposed to a parliamentary system, which by its very nature requires collaboration, give and take, and all those other core traits necessary in any healthy relationship, including a democracy) is that each side progressively ossifies until they are stone statue versions of their once dynamic selves. Worse than blinders, the blindness of believing that there is no evil greater than simply being a member of the opposing party. All treachery is forgiven in the face of a long history together. I don’t just mean the Grand Old Party (Gropers Or Pedophiles). The Democrats could take a step to the left or right too (okay, yes, I really mean left).

Or … we could just have some actual choice on the ballot, instead of always the same two goats stuck on the glory of their mythical ancestors.

And to those of you who think that adding another party or two (or three) to the US political landscape is a pipe dream, I offer these closing words from an essay I read by Lynne Segal:

“Our political dreams can end in disappointment, but are likely, nevertheless, to make us feel more alive, and hence happier, along the way, at least when they help to connect us to and express concern for those around us. Happiness demands nothing less.”

What are these Fableogs?

Fable en Français


Originally published at on December 15, 2017.

Tagged in Roy Moore, Republicans, Democrats, Fable, Party Politics

By Mina Samuels on December 15, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on March 17, 2018.



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