Perspectives from a Mediator/Arbitrator

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Elephants and Elections

Well tonight is the U.S. Election and I will be watching. I love watching elections and election coverage. It does not even have to be one that I am particularly interested. I will watch provincial election coverage from New Brunswick. The first election that I ever watched was in England in 1979. I was fortunate to be with my family while my father was taking a sabaatical leave in Manchester. An election was called while we were there and I stayed up to 3 a.m. watching the election returns come in and a lady named Margaret Thatcher become prime minister. I had no appreciation that I was watching the dawn of a populist conservative political revolution. But, I did. Thatcher, led in part, to the election of Ronald Reagan which lead to the election of Bush I, which led to Bush II, which led to the Iraq War, which may lead to the end of the control in the United States of that same populist conservative political revolution.
Now the symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. I know I should know why. I was reading last night in a New York Times magazine about the destruction of elephant culture. Here is just a short snippet of the article,

"Everyone agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has changed dramatically. What we are seeing today is extraordinary. Where for centuries humans and elephants lived in relatively peaceful coexistence, there is now hostility and violence...
Today's elephant population are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss...have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture.
It has long been apparent that every large, land-based animal on this planet is ultimately fighting a losing battle with humankind. And yet entirely befitting of an animal with such a highely developed sensibility, a deep-rooted sense of family and, yes, such a good long-term memory, the elephant is not going out quietly. It is not going out without making some kind of statement"

There is a lot of interesting material even in thats short snipet. I am not equating the battle of the elephant and the donkey in the U.S. as in any way similar to the battle that the elephant species is fighting with humans to survive, but as I read this last night - I could not help but think about how the actual elephant is fighting to survive while tonight we will see how much power is left in the hands of the political elephant!

Enjoy the ride - I think it would be hugely ironic if Joe Lieberman ended up holding the balance of power in the U.S. Senate making him more powerful than he ever would have been as the vice-president of the donkeys.