Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The party of sheep

A couple years back, I read an essay by retired US Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman titled "On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs". The essay suggests that people are either sheep, wolves or sheepdogs. In the context of the essay, sheep isn't a pejorative term, but describes the every day members of society...teachers, lawyers, construction workers, what have you. Wolves, of course, are the bad guys both within and outside our own society who live to devour sheep. The sheepdogs "live to protect the flock and confront the wolf". In reading it, I recognized that Grossman had articulated in simple terms my own inchoate worldview.

Grossman says that sheep don't like the sheepdogs because they look a lot like the wolf and serve as a constant reminder that there's an existential threat to the flock. But he describes the sheep/sheepdog relationship as a continuum through which people can move, citing United flight 93 as an example in which sheep can quickly slide across the scale and, when needed, assume the role of sheepdog.

When Barack Obama talks about sitting down and talking with our enemies while John McCain takes the hard line against the same, it's clear just where on the continuum Democrats and Republicans fall. To mix up metaphors a bit here, Obama is the lamb who would lie down with the lions without any clue as to their intent.

The party of sheep already control both houses of Congress. We can't afford to put a sheep in the White House, too.

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