Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rattlesnakes and Patriots

Today is "Day Off Thursday" at my blog.

This morning, I shared a post from one of my animal-loving Facebook friends.  It featured a picture of a Timber Rattlesnake, the news that there had been many sightings of the same in the forests of Indiana, and the admonition that in case of an encounter---given that these snakes  are on the endangered species list--- it is best to "back away slowly."

It was interesting to read the reactions in the comments on the original post.  The snake-o-philes tended to emphasize the endangered status of the snakes and wanted to see to it that their place in the wild was respected. On the other hand, one snake-o-phobe went so far as to say, "A dead snake is a better snake."

I'll tell you what, you won't ever, ever find me doing harm to a rattle snake. It's not that I'm a big fan; in fact, so profound is my loathing for rattlesnakes, that I am convinced that, should I strike one on the head, the foul thing would, Hydra-like, grow two more great, fanged heads to bite  me with. My big take-away from the Facebook article  was the advice to "back away slowly" if I encounter a rattlesnake. Good to know: my inclination would have been, up til now, to run away in a  zig-zag pattern as fast as I could.

I've known some snake-lovers, though, and I can bear witness to the sincerity and depth of their passion for these creatures.  One glorious spring day,  I was on a hike in Idaho's high desert with some friends, one of whom called out:

"COOL! A rattlesnake!"

"BOY HOWDY! Where?" asked another member of the party.

"Over here. And if you get close enough, you can see...three...four...five more!"

I can't be 100 percent sure of the rest of the conversation. From the distant spot to  where I had removed myself (rapidly, and in a zig-zag pattern, as I recall), I think I may have overheard this:

"Ah, that chubby one over there is *so* cuuuuuuuuuuuute!"

"Isn't he *just*! If he were in a pet-store instead of out in the wild, I'd bring him home as a pet!"

"Oooh, better leave now before you get tempted!"

When they finally caught up with me, we were all able to finish the walk together in peace, and I attribute this largely to the fact that I kept my feelings about rattlesnakes to myself.

There doesn't appear to be much middle ground as far as supporting/not supporting Trump goes.   He is a God-Emperor to some, and to others he is a snake to be driven out of office,  as the snakes were said to have been driven out of Ireland by St. Patrick (pbuh.) And the response of Trump-o-philes is to defend him against those attacks as if he were an endangered species.

The subject of immigration seems to be the most divisive.  Trump-o-philes will point to horror stories about the infrastructure of one locale or another being  insufficient to handle the influx of new-comers requiring services there. And the Trump-o-phobes will point to the many, many stories of families  being torn apart by recent draconian deportation measures.  I'd like to see more conversations where the full range of situations arising from  immigration are  discussed with an aim to finding realistic, humane solutions.   Don't give up on finding common ground with your friends until after the first, oh...six or seven  times.....that you find yourself ending up in an angry landslide of vituperation. 

Right up until the April Syrian airstrike, you could find, in some quarters, cautious optimism about Trump's campaign promises of a foreign policy less about regime change and more about diplomacy.  Since that attack, that segment of the electorate is now divided into factions,  those who recommend that we "just wait and see because brilliant Trump is playing 5-dimensional foreign policy chess"  versus those who counter with "new boss, same as the old boss."

It's good that people are having those conversations, even heated conversations.  There are  tragedies all over the place, and no one has the capacity to care about everything, but at least there are some people who are paying attention to and demanding answers about    the devastation being wrought in Yemen for example -- or in other corners of Over-There-Istan.

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssSSSSSSSssssssss chigga chigga chigga chigga sssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssssssSSSSSS Crotalus viridus. Prairie Rattlesnake- Idaho.
Now that there's been an exodus from the  Alt-Right by those who are disillusioned with Trump's foreign policy reversals, a significant part of the remnant are folks who never cared about a more peaceful  foreign policy to begin with. As long as they don't end up on our shores, they'd be happy to see immigrants drown in the boats in which they are escaping the hell-holes Western foreign policy has made of their original homes.
crotalus horridus   Timber Rattlesnake. Indiana
What to do about  the fight between this violent Alt-Right remnant and their equally violent Antifa counterparts?    If the battle spills over out of Berkley, it may be getting closer to where you live.   Reason has gone out the window, and high emotions (and in some cases, good old-fashioned blood-lust) are taking over.

Whether you support Trump, or whether you don't, I advise backing away slowly.

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