November 4th is Election Day. Voters throughout the region will choose their mayors and city council members, maybe support a ballot measure or two. Basically, one vote can be the end result of a long argument about what matters most. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Julia King thinks the democratic process would be a whole lot easier if we were all a little less… human:
Nov. 4th is Election Day. Voters throughout the region will choose their mayors and city council
members, maybe support a ballot measure or two. Basically, one vote can be the end result of a
long argument about what matters most. Great Lakes Radio Consortium Commentator, Julia
King, thinks the democratic process would be whole lot easier if we were all a little less human.
Things would be so much simpler if people were like – hamsters, or jackrabbits, or snails.
The point here being that if our species were a little more uniform – the way most other species
are – we’d have an easier time with politics.
Seriously, think about hamsters: they like exercise wheels, sleeping during the day, and sunflower
seeds. They don’t like cats. They don’t like pokey little kid fingers in their eyes and they don’t
like bright light. There’s not a lot of controversy in the hamster kingdom because they all pretty
much have the same likes and dislikes. It would be easy developing a policy that hamsters could
really rally around. Can’t you just see their little signs: “More Plastic Tubing!” and “We Heart
But people, oh my goodness, just look at us: some guy likes mountains and some woman wants
the ocean. One kid is quiet and shy and loves butterflies. Another is loud and fast and wants to
We have no set habitat, or diet, or demeanor. Some of us run from a fight and others of us go
looking everywhere for one. There are humans who want to talk everything through, who believe
it’s a civic duty to explore a public policy. And there are others who’d really rather focus on
something, more pleasant, less potentially explosive, like which European woman will fall for the
latest Joe Millionaire .
There are certain needs we do all share – water, food, shelter, love. But even those things we
can’t quite agree upon. Is water for thirsty people, or for swimming pools? Is the food
vegetarian or barbeque beef? Is your shelter threatening a wetland eco system or is the darn
wetland robbing you of your dream home? Does love mean engaging in dialogue or leaving
people the heck alone?
It’s a cruel trick nature plays on our species. We’re tangled up together on this planet, some six
billion of us, with an infinite array of dreams and visions and yet there is just this one great big
ball on which we all live.
Politics brings out the best and worst in humans. We organize into factions that can build or
destroy, that can nurture the spirit or evoke the meanness that resides in all of us.
Unlike much of the animal world, we achieve our goals not through sheer instinct, but through
intellect and focused determination. We have to outthink and outwork our foes to prevail. Yet
win or lose, we’re still tethered to one another, forever sentenced to the toil of negotiation in the
face of endless human want.
Sunflower seeds, anyone?