The Left

Political Whiz, Not Dumb

Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus is a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African-American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form in 1881. A journalist in post-Reconstruction Atlanta, Georgia, Harris produced seven Uncle Remus books. | Photo: Walt Disney | Uncle Remus, African-american Folktales, Disney, Racism,

The GOP's sticky situation-to-be...

You're familiar with some of the truly great American minds of the 19th century: Whitman, Twain/Clemens, Lincoln, Keller, et. al.; how many of you recall one Joel Chandler Harris, author of the fables by the name of 'Uncle Remus'?

No less an icon of American political acumen than Theodore Roosevelt read him often and not simply to his children but for sagacity. It's fitting that the latter Republican progressive (more at progressive Republican) should be brought to collective mind in this time of Chicken-Littling by fellow progressive Democrats, for it is here propounded that our President, so relatively contented with being perpetually underestimated by his Republican rivals, has studied well this fictionalized mentor of political wisdom, that old avuncular figure aforementioned.

We've all heard, if not read these practical morality tales of overcoming mindless oppression, thanks to Disney's controversial film, 'Song of the South' , with its memorable tunes such as 'Zippity Do Dah'. Now, then, let's resurrect in our collective memory one of these tales which may just apply to the recent election results so traumatic to certain pusillanimous Democrats who've shunned the President out of fear of the less-than-ennobling fear perceived to afflict in the body politic--fear of the Presidential otherness of Mr. Obama, in those mote-filled eyes the personification of the Ebola virus itself (after all, they ratiocinate, they're both of African origin).

Here's the tale in a nutshell, set in motion by the perception by the Fox (don't you love these confluences of names---thank you, Rupert Murdoch) that the Rabbit is arrogant, stuck up, aloof:

"Br'er Fox constructs a doll out of a lump of tar and dresses it with some clothes. When Br'er Rabbit comes along he addresses the tar "baby" amiably, but receives no response. Br'er Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as the Tar-Baby's lack of manners, punches it, and in doing so becomes stuck. The more Br'er Rabbit punches and kicks the tar "baby" out of rage, the worse he gets stuck.

Now that Br'er Rabbit is stuck, Br'er Fox ponders how to dispose of him. The helpless but cunning Br'er Rabbit pleads, "but do please, Br'er Fox, don't fling me in dat brier-patch," prompting Fox to do exactly that. As rabbits are at home in thickets, the resourceful Br'er Rabbit escapes." [Wikipedia]

Putting aside the superficial racial undertones, the moral of this story is simply that it's best to avoid a 'sticky situation'. Well, it's pretty obvious that the fair-weather friends of Br'er Rabbit, a.k.a. President Obama, did just that, and just what the foxes, a.k.a. GOP mid-term candidates, hoped they would. Hence, those 'friendly' foxes seemingly guarding a certain (hen)House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue became the unwitting--or worse, witting--accomplices to what Br'er Fox couldn't accomplish in 2010 (thanks to that childish tea party held in puerile minds nationwide) or in 2008 or 2012.

It is posited here that all the while this fertile-minded 'Rabbit' incumbent of the White House knew this moral well from his own life experience, the best teacher, as was well-known to the folksy Uncle Remus: know thy strengths, especially when others are all too quick to see them as weaknesses.

So, then, here we find the President in the proverbial thicket, a place he's known all too well his entire life; you know his story, and it is one we progressives have come to bronze over like a trophy whose sheen is lost for lack of dusting off. We forget how stunned was an entire world in 2008 at our collective audacity of spirit.

It is precisely that self-same spirit which has always characterized this skilled politician, and, more fundamentally, this humane being; for by uninvited circumstances of birth, Mr. Obama succeeds where most fail, regardless of those situational factors beyond their control. He has managed to add that suffix, 'e', to human, becoming more than 'only human'-- 'only humane'.

Where, then, does this leave us, the torch carriers of what that Republican of the 19th century with the 21st century vision, affectionately remembered as 'T.Rex'? The same wisdom which was infused in his visionary work on behalf of the future, sadly forgotten or taken as granted by us in the century he foresaw, is no dinosaur and is embodied in the extant President's 'sticky situation.'

Watch, now, for his aplomb in causing those who have forgotten their larger mandate (nothing to do with elections, everything to do with that 'We the People' Preamble so easily disregarded as only for school children's memorization)--to govern, and wisely.

They may think his thicket is a tight, unmanageable political place; think again, GOP. The man you think you just tarred is not only comfortable in his dark-hued skin, he's ready to show you how to govern by tarring you with your own brush.

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Updated May 6, 2017 5:51 AM EDT | More details

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