The politics of elephants fighting

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, Ph.D OW Oped | 2/13/2020, midnight

The African saying, ‘when elephants fight, the grass is always the loser,’ is something we should keep in mind this election season. That kind of light-hearted philosophical outlook can help us through what certainly appears to be a stomping on our heads and emotions for the next nine months or so.

Though there are several excellent, well-spoken and seriously talented Democrat Party candidates for POTUS, only one will surely rise through the primary season of choosing the one thought most likely to give number 45 the biggest run for his money, and hopefully a solid beat-down. By March’s primaries, particularly Super Tuesday (March 3rd), it’ll all be over but a little whimpering  in the corners, and one national nominee for the Democrats will have been chosen (yes, there will still be a few primaries left, but over 1500 of the party’s delegates will have been divided out by then, and there are only 1900 primary delegates in total.)

I have no crystal ball, so I won’t predict who will rise to the top. What I will say is that among all the candidates, the one who would irritate and rankle number 45 the most, would be Mike Bloomberg. That’s not to say that Mr. Bloomberg is the most likely to beat number 45. It is to say, though, that Mr. Bloomberg is the candidate number 45 is least likely to want to face.

Why, you ask? It’s as simple as remembering the one “jerk” in your own life who bothered you, embarrassed you, virtually always made you feel inferior. No matter how good you were at something—football, academics, gymnastics, cooking, hiking, mountain climbing, writing, acting, swimming, scouting, etc., there was always at least one who was better than you, knew they were better, and let you know it constantly. Your frustrated attempts to beat them “just once” regularly failed, and such failure settled into you, galling you no end.

In academics, there are many scholars, but those from Ivy League schools are virtually always recognized as “better”—even by your own academic self. In athletics, you may be great—the “Man” or the “Woman” on your campus or in your city. But those from the powerhouse schools, or more ballyhooed states (e.g., New York, California, etc.) get all the glory. Though there are hundreds of cases of athletic or scholastic super-prowess eventually rising into the top echelons from little-known places, there are literally millions of failures to overcome that disparity. That was part of the reason that Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, early on in the 20th century, advocated that we, as a community, needed to watch out for that “Talented Tenth” among our youth, wherever we found them, and nurture, encourage, and otherwise push them along. Help them become great so that they would, eventually, help pull us all up too.

But even with that, when the AKAs told the would-be pledgee that it was no use—the pledgee was too Black to pass muster and join the sorority; or when the aspiring honor roll student was told uh-uh, you’re good, but to be Phi Beta Kappa you simply aren’t and won’t ever be it from that nowhere school you attended, that is simply galling and forever belittling. It could give one an inferiority complex.