Tag Archives: thomas nast

Elephants and The GOP

The elephant became the symbol of the Republican party not because of what an elephant is, but because of a political cartoon run by Harper’s Weekly in November of 1874, it was there also that the Democrat’s jackass was born as a symbol, all in the same cartoon.  Of course the drawing was a depiction of the political landscape at the time as seen by the artist (Thomas Nast), but now we see the symbols as inseparable from the parties themselves.  So why does any of this matter?  Well read on:

I was just sitting here thinking about the GOP and how its symbol, the elephant, doesn’t really represent it very well.  After all, elephants are very matriarchal; the cows lead the troop and stick together in tightly knit groups of individuals forming families.  They are very human that way.  However; given what is going on with the Republican party right now and the way that some of them seem to want to take away rights that women have earned in the last century, the image of a matriarchal creature is somewhat incongruous.  Perhaps there needs to be a reminder that all politicians have mothers and perhaps those same politicians should say thank you to those moms for deciding to reproduce in the first place.

But then in doing a bit of research I remembered, and realized that though elephants form families, they are made up of cows, not bulls.  When the males reach puberty they are forced out to find their own society with other bulls.  At the point of separation, the bulls and cows don’t come together again except for when it’s time to mate.  That seems to fit the symbol very well.  Though there are plenty of women in the GOP, it seems like the whole birth control controversy is born by men who are separated from women.  It is as though these men have never met or conversed with any woman since they moved out of their mothers home and into the frat house.

Can we learn something from this type of society?  I think so.  Men and Women have been forced into each others society for far too long.  Women in America have sought equal footing for themselves, we pride ourselves on the accomplishments of the Suffragettes of the last century, earning us, the woman of America today, the right to vote.  From there we earned many more rights, the right not to be beaten by the men with whom we keep company, the right to a job with equal pay for equal work and so much more.

In elephant society, the troops of cows are utterly independent from the troops of bulls.  They forage on their own, care for the young and come of age without a dependence on the bulls.  Women today are beginning to do this as well, though the religious right may see this as a moral failing, I think that perhaps some women are getting it right in a way.  It is a controversial thing, the thought that women are better off without men “helping” them make decisions about life, but women are wiser without men.

It’s just a thought that will never come to fruition, a fantasy.  Human females will always be in society with males, we have been brought up to believe that we will live in familial groups that include men whether they are our children, fathers, brothers, friends or mates;  and boys aren’t cast out into the wild at puberty, I mean can you imagine feral groups of teenage boys wandering the streets foraging for Cheetos and Mountain Dew holding gaming tournaments to determine leadership?  A chill just ran up my spine.

For now I will take a lesson from the elephants, they seem to have their acts together, and with the exception of the atrocities visited upon them by humans, are doing okay.  I can only hope that Americans won’t cannibalize themselves in the name of moral “right” and “wrong” and finally live together without turning on one another.

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