Sunday, July 29, 2007

When Encountering a Bear, Your Silence Will Not Protect You

If you're out hiking in the wilderness and you encounter a bear at a close range, wildlife experts have a few words of advice for you. First, avoid direct eye contact with the bear as this might elicit a charge. Second, make yourself seem larger than you are by waving your arms or, if wearing a coat or jacket, pull the sides of the garment to the fullest extent on each side. Third, make a lot of noise by talking and yelling -- In this instance, your silence will not protect you. Fourth, if the bear attacks you, fight back aggressively. Finally, do NOT run from the bear as this will cause it to chase you and bears are a lot faster than you might think.

While pondering this information the other day, it dawned on me that this guide describes the current political landscape in our dear nation very well. In essence, the entire country has become a vast ideological wilderness. The Bush administration is a giant bear and the Democratic-controlled Congress represents a team of intrepid hikers.

These hikers keep running into the beast and they aren't following the advice of experts. Every time the bear bluffs a charge, they take off running, ceding more and more territory to the bear. After awhile, they stand their ground timidly and make a little noise, only to take off running again. In time, the bear will corner them and, when that happens, there won't be many options left.

Coming at this scenario from a different direction, we can also liken the American public to the hikers. We too keep crossing paths with the bear. Far too many of us -- like our elected representatives -- aren't heeding the tried and true advice of wildlife experts. We stand before the bear frozen in fear, arguing about what to do next. Instead of making ourselves appear as large as we truly are, we hunker down so as to appear smaller. Instead of screaming and yelling, some talk in a normal tone, while others whisper. And, far too many of us are ready to run at the first hint of danger.

The bear has become more and more emboldened because of our conjoined silence. If we ever hope to scare the bear away, we as a group must find the courage to yell and scream at the top of our lungs at this hairy beast. At that point, the bear may well realize that we're too great of an adversary and decide he will be better served to go off and eat berries.

As our nation is under assault by forces from within; silence will not protect us.


  1. Well, thank you for that information about bears, as I am setting off for a camping trip this weekend in Oregon.

    The question before us is, how, collectively do we act like fearsome bears? This brings to mind a dinner conversation from the past week, where a 30, 40 and 50-something-year-old discussed the seeming apathy of this country's populace. The 30-year-old, speaking for her and younger generations, said that everyone is so burnt out trying to pay mortgages, raising kids, working, working, working, that they have no time at the end of the day. Whereupon the 40-year-old said, "Yeah, well is that why we all have 3.5-4.5 hours everyday to watch television?" Whereupon the 50-year-old said, "I remember the 60s, when people took it to the streets and change was actually effected."

    To which, the 30-year-old said, "Well, then, start something."

    And that's where we all decided it was getting late and time to go home.


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