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When Wolf Asked Why? (An ancient tale of animal politics for our current times…)

Once upon a time, Badger threatened to take the sun hostage. He hissed, “The others must pay if the sun is ever to rise again.” “My ideas are destined,” said Badger. “It’s simply the free market working its magic,” he proclaimed. The talks proceeded well until Wolf’s voice grew low, stern and steady.

All he asked was, “Why?”

So many ideas crumble under the weight of that single word. Badger was attempting to retaliate against Wolf and all his kind, who called for the universal rights to the moon. Wolf claimed that looking up at night (and especially howling) at the moon was one of those self-evident rights in the pursuit of happiness. Once the animals heard both sides they voted to reinstate all vital things, especially the moon and the sun’s shining.

I don’t know why all this happened. I just know it did.

Years later, Badger and his friends were caught attempting to sell the air to the highest bidder. Rumor was, they had secretly filed a patent for all the world’s air. Later when Badger was under investigation, he gave a press conference announcing his desire to outlaw fake news.

Especially as he put it, “The phony need for free and socialized air.” His battle cry, Air Is Not A Right sprung from his Ayn-Randian views.

Badger also called for a ban on most questions and especially the one he feared the most… Why? But Wolf just shrugged and kept on asking.

Now. Today. Inside each of us, the heart and courage of Wolf resides. Wolf says, “Be kind, humble and fierce. Badger is not the enemy, silence is.”

— Story handed down through many generations to Dale Biron

PS: I am certain that poetry has an important role to play in helping to heal our politics. Toward that goal, I will be giving a new talk called, “Poetry in a Time of Social and Political Turmoil” at the Marin JCC on October 30th. Details to follow.

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