Through the Looking Ass
“Why do you keep such ugly beasts,”
it’s often asked of me.
“Why not have one horse at least,
so beautiful, wild and free.”
It seems so plain, so obvious,
how could I feel ill-fated?
To surround myself with the very best
that ever were created.
A friendship nowadays known by few,
the very best companions.
Contented just to pack us through
the mountains, plains and canyons.
It seems forever, more or less,
he’s shouldered mankind’s loads
And brought us through the wilderness
with little use for roads.
And while I’m no religious man,
it must show good behavior
To be chosen as delivery van
and guardian of the savior.
He provides us with solutions
for problems yet uncounted,
But his greatest contributions
are not when he is mounted.
When you gaze upon a grazing jack,
you may see a lowly ass.
You can be sure he’s looking back
’neath the guise of nibbling grass.
He wears the perfect poker face,
he is what you impose.
But while you stand there heels in place,
he's always on his toes.
Unknowing eyes will think they feast
upon a silly creature.
A simple, strange and awkward beast
without redeeming feature.
Those that are demanding
will find his every fault
And take each patient standing
as a personal assault.
If then they try to use some force
and find he can’t be budged,
He’s judged the wrong end of a horse,
themselves correctly judged.
But patient, understanding eyes
might find a life-long friend
One to trust when hard times rise,
one to count on to the end.
So if you see a lowly ass,
then that’s just what he’ll be
When viewing nature’s looking glass,
you are just what you see.
Back to the double Flag Flyers.
The black truck was sporting American flags on either side of the tail gate. As it turned my way and rippled past, I felt the hair bristle at the base of my neck. It was a completely subconscious reaction of the sort that has generally served me well throughout my life and probably saved my life more than once. But this time it was filled with conflict and confusion.
How can enthusiastic patriotism possibly carry such negative connotations and be perceived as a threat? The truck might as well have been adorned with a confederate flag and Nazi flag. I felt like my pride and patriotism were somehow being soiled.
Don’t get me wrong. An American flag flies outside my home even now as I write. I love everything it stands for: Freedom, Equality, Opportunity, Justice for All. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
But much of what I love most about our country seems to be in terrible jeopardy these days under our current administration. I find very little to be proud of and certainly nothing to be effusively patriotic about. One of the things I love most about our country is our right to object to things we consider to be unjust. I’d rather take a knee to the National Anthem than to salute Trump.
Should I be proud of tearing brown babies from the arms of their mothers at our borders? Proud of a president that caters to every ruthless autocrat on earth and defends their right to interfere in our elections? Proud of someone that has no respect for, or even apparent understanding of, honesty and who uses truth only as a strategic option, one which is rarely employed because it’s rarely strategically beneficial to him? So, you might ask, since when have politicians been known for honesty? Most politicians at least acknowledge fault when caught lying instead of sulking and threatening those that refuse to support obvious falsehoods. Very few, if any, people are completely honest, and I’d assume that most politicians aren’t very far off this norm. Occasional “little white lies” are almost essential to peaceful survival in polite society. But I’ve never in my entire life encountered another person as comfortable with dishonesty as is our president. The only one even nearly comparable to Trump was the guy in the old SNL skit featuring the “compulsive liar.”
America has been sufficiently great enough to defend itself and earn the respect of all nations for many decades. We have also been strong enough to help those in need rather suppress, intimidate and bully the weak. I hope that all people continue to believe in some sort of greater good here on earth. I hope that our nation can continue to be part of that greater good. I understand why those threatened by inconceivable atrocities at the hands of ruthless gangs would still cross our borders knowing full well their children might be taken away. They assume (hopefully rightfully so) that we will be at least less ruthless and savage than the gangs they flee. Their children will at least likely survive rather than be raped and killed in front of each other. Our current administration’s stragedy (not a misspell) seems to involve being even more ruthless and vicious than the MS 13.
America’s greatness has never been in question. This question is whether we are still a good nation. We need to revisit the notion of a kinder, gentler nation. We don’t need to be part of the most vicious and nasty gang of international thugs to ever rule the world. Even if Trump could deliver the prosperity he promises, would it be worth the cost to our environment, our future generations, our international relations and our integrity as a nation?
My greatest conflict over the double flag thing is how it brings out my own prejudice. The main gist of my opening poem is how we tend to impose our own predispositions on others. I spent too much time in Texas during and after the last election. The double flag message went big in rural Texas just after the election and all too often involved confederate flags as well as the occasional Nazi flag. It left an impression too easily transferred to similar situations.
In truth, I know nothing of these double flag flyers and have no right to impose my impressions on our local double flagger. He may well have always been this enthusiastically patriotic even before Trump. He may share many of my beliefs and might merely express his opinions in a more patriotic fashion. This may be his way of trying to recover our nation from its current oppression.
Please, double flag flyer, call and enlighten me, 970-379-2344.
If you are an enthusiastic Trump supporter, tell me what you are most proud of about Trump and our nation in general on this Fourth of July. Better yet, accept my invitation to use this column to clarify and express your opinions to all that may read it. The better we all understand each other, the more we can do to make America GOOD again.