Of Blind Mules and Darkness

This year’s election is a Lewis Carroll field day! Recall this, from his poem, “Jabberwocky:”

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Haven’t we heard it all before?

Emily Dickinson penned, “I dwell in possibilities.” The campaigns of this election cycle have come to end them, to beat them into a whimper with a bang–the “crystal stairs” Langston Hughes memed as symbols of opportunity, faith, perseverance are being smashed. The broken shards are blithely discussed by voices that repeat themselves–robotic rabbits–Cheshire cats–a menagerie of Bokors leading the zombies.

But blind mules are never afraid of the darkness. Zora Neale Hurston observed in Haiti, in similar times, people went into a trance and spoke to a nearby horse to report all the unspeakable crimes and cruelties for which silence was imposed. The saying developed that if you were in search of communal truth or wished to share the abounding weird mysteries (speech is the first act of defiance!), folk, fearful of consequences, would say, “tell my horse.”

For Republicans up and down and for many of their voters and their leadership and sympathizers: that horse is us. They speak to the wrong end.


~~King Lowry of fable had horse ears, which he kept covered. His affliction so bothered him that he had to tell someone or something–not a horse. He told a tree, much safer he thought. Until one day, a harp maker cut a limb of the tree and made a harp for a local strummer. That man lost his head and his harp because the only sounds the instrument produced were laughter and the words–the king has horse ears. Truth will out. Maybe.


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