Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Monkey With His Hand In A Jar

There’s something about the company you keep that determines where your thoughts will go, and it’s hard to make use of your higher intellectual functions in the presence of a monkey. In fact, it’s often too great a task to simply keep your dignity. No great and lofty drama can be acted within a circus tent, nor will Chopin’s Preludes ever be played by an organ grinder.

And so those who study matters a little more seriously than some are prone to becoming easily vexed when a monkey arrives on the scene of a serious discussion. I’ve seen it time and time again where the person of greater learning is frustrated to the point of utter exasperation by the behavior of a creature with no sense of decorum. The serious and the high-minded can have their egos destroyed by their inability to understand that so many can prefer the actions of a monkey to their staid and measured pronouncements. Such is their folly that they are incapable of seeing that the monkey is appreciated precisely because he is capable of taking the starch out of the collars of those who attempt to sit so staid and complacently above the fray.

In short, a monkey has a knack for making monkeys of us all. And that is not totally a bad thing. A monkey in our midst is a good way of keeping our egos in check. It keeps our grandiose theories from flying too far away from reality. It takes us out of our comfort zone. The monkey keeps our feet on the ground, keeps us rooted, forces us to focus on how healthy our roots are while we’d prefer to be busily losing ourselves in sophistry and pretty but untested notions of how life should be.

A lot of people were feeling good about themselves for the last 8 years. We had elected an African-American president who was well spoken, photogenic, and relatively scandal-free. He spoke about hope and change but more than anything else he was the personification of hope and change because he was the embodiment of the mountaintop speech Martin Luther King Junior gave those many years back. Martin knew that he would never live to see the day but we as a nation had finally arrived.

Except that nothing is ever that simple and we never really arrive. Every mountain we climb merely gives us a brief glimpse of the road ahead that we need to traverse. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve foolishly believed that everything was right with the world during the reign of Barack Obama.

We were wrong. The monkey exposed our self-satisfied illusions about ourselves. Even now we don’t want to admit it but the monkey had a lot to work with. We made his job easy.

But here’s the thing. A monkey can’t make a decent human being look too bad for too long. A monkey will reveal the inner you, beyond the image you project to the world. Put a basically good person in the room and he’ll find a healthy way to interact with a monkey. But put a person with issues in the same room with a hyperactive simian and that person will blow his top.

That’s what I see happening now. The pat storyline of liberals everywhere is being put to the test and you’re not responding very well. The monkey is exposing your hypocrisy and it’s rattled you so much you’re no longer in charge of your own emotions. This amuses those who are watching, makes you look to be the butt of the monkey’s behavior in the eyes of the crowd, and everybody enjoys a circus where the monkey gets the best of the clowns. When the monkey gets you to act like a monkey yourself, the monkey wins.

You’re playing the monkey’s game. Instead of using your reason you have fallen into monkey behavior. You’re showing the world you’re no better than the monkey and it looks even worse on you, because the monkey never pretended to be something better than a monkey.

There’s an ancient story about how to catch a monkey. You place a piece of fruit in a jar with an opening just large enough for a monkey to get his hand in but not big enough for him to get his hand out while holding the fruit. The monkey wants that piece of fruit so bad, he doesn’t have enough sense to let it go even when he is about to be captured.

That is how I see much of the opposition to Trump right now. Your hatred is so intense you can’t let go of it, even though it’s hurting you to hold on. Your hatred for the monkey is such that he’s got you acting just like him. And there’s nothing the monkey enjoys more than having a partner in his monkey games. And the crowd looking on is mightily amused too.

It’s time to let go the anger, it’s time to regain your composure and stop letting the monkey dictate your behavior. You must be in charge, not the monkey, but in order to do that you must show the audience that you have the sort of integrity that cannot be sullied by a mere monkey.

It’s fun to watch a hypocrite squirm as the lie is put to him by the monkey. But it is no fun for the audience once they realize the victim of the monkey will not surrender his dignity.

It is up to you to elevate the drama that is being played out. You must appeal to the audience’s sympathies and logic, show by your actions that the causes you care for are noble causes. You must not stoop to monkey behavior, and you must be quick to call out those who do, even if they support the same causes as you. You must call out people who body shame the President of the United States of America, both because you respect the office and because you oppose body shaming in all incidences. You must call out those who imply a homosexual relationship between the monkey and foreign heads of state, both because it does not deal with the issues and especially because you would not tolerate trying to shame someone because of their sexuality if it were anyone else.

You’ve claimed the moral high ground, it is up to you to prove yourselves worthy of it. We already know the path the monkey has taken. I suggest you don’t try to follow him, he has had a lifetime of practice at it.

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