I was browsing the troubling, even downright depressing news headlines of the day when I finally landed on Donald Trump and his half-hearted choice of Mike Spence, Governor of Indiana, as his vice-presidential running mate. Then, for no apparent reason out of the blue, so to speak, I thought about the intelligence of plants.
Now, I’d better be careful what I say here because I came to the conclusion a long time ago that The-Man-Who-Would-Be-King of the world’s greatest and still most powerful democracy wouldn’t need much of an excuse to invade Canada. Like, for example, this peaceable, multicultural country of the North has welcomed, and continues to welcome thousands of Syrian and other refugees from the Middle East, most of whom are Muslim. That alone might be enough to give a newly-elected President Donald Trump, reason enough to flex his new Commander-in-Chief muscles and order the invasion of Canada on the pretext of safeguarding the safety and security of Americans.
I kid you not.
If it sounds like I’m anticipating the prospect of Trump actually winning the November, presidential election, you’re darn right I am. The stage is set for a national and global tragedy of apocalyptic proportions. It’s as if some infernal script was written and the actors, such as they are, given their fateful roles to play. Mike Pence, for example, as blandly white as they come, nails down the social-conservative constituency; but mostly he’s absolutely no threat to take any of the attention away from the attention-needy Trump. Meanwhile, the American mainstream news media is still playing its part in giving Trump what he needs on a daily basis – hardly a day goes by when the T-man isn’t at the top of the Google News headline list. Turn on CNN, and if it’s not murder and mayhem at home and abroad, it’s Trump and variations thereof, all-the-time.
The man has said any number of things that, surely, at any other time in U.S. history would have got him laughed off the stage: imagine him up against JFK, FDR or even Uncle Ike. Think of Abraham Lincoln circumlocuting in his sepulchre. Go for a drive, see the tears falling like waterfalls from the great presidential heads carved out of Mount Rushmore.
Where are the great ones when you need them? There are a lot of worthy Americans. But how is it that so few of them are in politics, or if they are they somehow get eaten alive by a system that no longer works? Bernie Sanders, clearly a man of courage and conviction, did not go gently, and good for him. He was the one bright star in the agonizingly bad primary process on either side.
Now, Hillary Clinton is the wrong person at the wrong time, or the right time, from Trump’s perspective; and not because she’s a woman.
It should be blatantly obvious – there is one issue in this upcoming U.S. election: An unprincipled demagogue playing to the worst possible lowest common denominator in white American society must not be elected President of the most powerful democracy on earth. With his finger on the various buttons of the immense power that comes with the job he gives the expression “loose cannon” a whole new, terrible meaning for the future of the world.
So anyway, like I said, I found myself thinking of the intelligence of plants as I browsed the news of the day, including the ever-present T-news. Now that I’ve given it some thought, I think I understand why:
Take pumpkin plants, for example, specifically those big, bright yellow flowers they get as the pumpkins begin to form. They know exactly the right thing to do when they’ve had enough sun, or when conditions are otherwise less than ideal during the day, or as night falls: they curl up protectively, turn away, and bide their time. Then, in the morning when the first rays of the rising sun draw near they turn toward the sun and open up wide to embrace the good and glorious, life-giving light.
We humans should be so smart.
By the way, all those pumpkin plants are “volunteers,” the word traditionally given in these parts to identify plants that germinate from seeds left in the soil from the year before. In this case, I had a compost pile here that included some discarded pumpkin seeds. Hence the healthy fertility of the soil they’re growing in. I thinned the plants a bit, kept them weeded until they became dominant, and now they’re flourishing.
Come to think of it, there’s a lesson there too.