The Rest of the Story
The National Emergency
Everyone knows the famous line from the children’s fable, Chicken Little — “The sky is falling!” “The sky is falling!” So exclaims Chicken Little when an acorn falls thumping him on his noggin during a walk in the forest.
But do you know the rest of the story? (as the old radio ham Paul Harvey used to ask).
Contemplating Donald Trump’s declaration of a “National Emergency,” my mind turned to Chicken Little.
Trump has been doing his own version of “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!.” His is, “The border is failing! The border is failing! We’re being invaded! Criminals! Gangs! Rapists! Drugs!”
I remembered the beginning of the Chicken Little story, but not the ending. A brief, unscientific survey led me to conclude that others too had missed the portentous ending. Do you know it?
This is how it goes down. A frantic Chicken Little runs into Henny Penny. Now the two of them are sounding the alarm. They run into a third bird, Duckey Lucky, and she too joins them to cry disaster, and on their mission to report the terrible news to the authorities (the lion).
Then they run into Foxey Loxey, who cleverly asks the threesome, “Do you know the way to the Lion’s house?” Discovering they do not know the way, the fox kindly offers to show them.
And here’s how it ends. “Foxy Loxey walks on and on until he comes to his den. ‘Come right in,’ ways F.L. They all go in, but they never, never come out again.”
It’s not a happy ending.
“Chicken Little” may seem far too unserious and childish for Trump’s declaration of a “national emergency.” But maybe not, especially when you hear the rest of the story.
“They all go in, but they never, never come out again.”
Caught up in his manufactured emergency, we like silly birds fail to see that the real peril right standing right in front of us. Fear makes people stupid, which seems to be what Trump is counting on.
A TV Recommendation
On a completely different and happier note, I’ve been watching a show on Netflix that I think is great. It is an Israeli tv production called Shtisel.
Shtisel is about a large ultra-orthodox Jewish family who live in the Guela neighborhood of Jerusalem. Wonderful! Check it out.
Please Democrats: Reel It In
And finally, the most prescient political remark of the week came from Mark Shields on the NPR Newshour on Friday evening
The Democrats, according to Shields, are making the classic mistake of interpreting their big win in the mid-term elections in November as a mandate for a giant leap to the left. “Green New Deal,” “Medicare for All.” “Free College Tuition.” Whoa!
Question: do the Democrats want to defeat Trump? If that is Job 1, as I think it is, they would have a much better shot at it if they focused more on electable candidates and less on massive new government programs.
Shields, who has been around long enough to know his history, rattled off the half-dozen examples of the victorious party in the mid-term crashing and burning in the following general two years later because they interpreted the mid-terms as a mandate for all their fondest dreams and schemes.
Even if you do think there’s a case for huge swings in policy, you still have to win the 2020 election to have a chance to make it happen.