I wanted to introduce everyone to Yasle (pronounced “Yashlay”) – the Lakota word for coyote. Yasle was a little runt coyote who was abandoned by her pack in the forest right near our house when we lived in Klamath, California. She and our dogs used to play together every day and every evening. We became her pack although she remained wild. We used to love to watch her give chase to our pups and fell them with a quick nip at their heels. They returned the favor. I can’t say exactly how we all came to be friends, but it was a very happy time for her and for our dogs. There was no fear in any of us, and Yasle proved a very effective guard as well. When strangers approached our home she would let rip an ear-piercing scream to warn them and alert us. When she disappeared one day we feared the worse: that she had been killed. A short while later, she brought her pups around to she show them off. I have so many stories about this little lady of the forest that I could literally write a novel.
With a little patience and complete lack of ego, Mel and I entered her world for the time she was part of our lives. We could never be coyote. Coyote is unique and wonderful without the necessity of change. Likewise we were offered the privilege of seeing her, of spending time with her. Our landlords to this day look after her. And they tell us she mourned us when we left.
So what does that have to do with the election?
It seems that the American people may have an easier time getting to know the inner workings of a wild animal than how this country is run by the very few we placed in power. And none of them, it seems, has any desire to set their egos aside and drop their rhetoric and thought process down to our level. In short, they are profoundly lacking in any meaningful dialogue. And this is true for both parties.
I am disappointed by Mitt Romney’s blatantly insensitive and, frankly, elitist commentary that demeaned so many. Likewise, Mr. Obama spoke words that were so future oriented I never really got a sense for what would happen next week or next month.
Neither side recognized the most oppressed voters in the country: the Native Americans. Last election cycle there was a concerted effort in South Dakota to literally, physically prevent Natives from voting. They were harassed at polling places, taunted, called racial epithets. It was positively disgraceful behavior that nobody heard about. Reservations are located often in such remote areas, and so few have access to transportation that thousands probably couldn’t vote even if they wanted to.They fought for this country in every war. They work and seek good education for their children just like everybody else. But they were completely ignored…again…as usual.
And Mel and I are small business owners. Our reality is that we pay 47% of our income to state and federal authorities. That’s right: 47%. Almost half. So when Mitt Romney complains about his, what was it, 15%, I laughed. I laughed hard and realized the absurdity of the concept that small businesses will suffer immense tax consequences if the wealthy got whacked with higher tax rates. As a tax attorney I will always agree that the Internal Revenue Code needs to be shredded, tossed, thrown out, burned, whatever. It does. It is truly archaic and needs to be reformed.
But politicians present such simplistic and illogical solutions to these huge problems I wonder how anyone can believe a word they say. I don’t.
Here’s a little legal history for you: The anti-federalists asserted that if the Constitutional Convention went forward and the federal government formed based on a republican model (meaning the Republic of Rome) the inevitable result would be that the aristocracy would come to control both House and Senate and they would ultimately rule in and for their own self interest. This would all work to the detriment of the “working classes.”
I believe this has happened already. But the Roman Empire fell based on the greed and corruption – with the help a few Huns and barbarians for good measure – that system inevitably created. So what is the inevitable result here? Does any class other than the very wealthy stand a chance of surviving in any measure of comfort when their needs are ignored and – of all stupid things – education is touted as a luxury? I have some serious questions and doubts about where this country is going regardless of who occupies the White House. History has proven time and again that negative events often precipitate a fall of some kind.
In the Lakota way, coyote, yasle, is the trickster. He’ll show you one face but hides the real one. If the federal government continues to show the public one face while deciding our fate with another, might the fall be inevitable? It’s a question worth asking. And I’m going to hope I’m wrong. But when milk costs almost three or four dollars a gallon, and basic foodstuffs are out of reach of most people…you have a problem. I would like to help solve it, but I am just one person. Perhaps if more like-minded individuals come together, positive change could become a reality. I am going to remain cautiously optimistic.