Horton Hears a Republican
November 14, 2010 2 Comments
Well it’s been almost two weeks post-election and I, like I’m sure most of you, have done a lot of reflecting on the results. It’s not easy to bounce back immediately after campaigns you’ve believed in, volunteered for and invested months of your life in fail to turn candidates into elected officials. In this staunchly blue state where a select few areas (Baltimore City, Prince George’s County & Montgomery County) seem to speak for the rest of us, it can be hard to remain hopeful about where Maryland is heading, especially when you feel like your voice just isn’t heard. But I think there is hope to be found… in the wise words of Dr. Seuss, believe it or not.
Call me crazy, but I see an almost infinite number of parallels between us Maryland Republicans and the Whos of Horton fame. We know we’re here. We know we matter and have thoughts, opinions, businesses, families, futures and dreams that matter, too. But to the rest of the nation (especially our own elected officials) we just don’t exist. Everybody writes Maryland off as an uncontested blue blue blue state, with blue people, blue houses, blue grass and blue roots. But they’re wrong.
“He was splashing… enjoying the jungle’s great joys…
when Horton the elephant heard a small noise.
So Horton stopped splashing. He looked toward the sound.
‘That’s funny,’ thought Horton. ‘There’s no one around.’
Then he heard it again! Just a very faint yelp
as if some tiny person were calling for help.”
While the winner/loser outcome of November 2nd’s election might not have turned out so well for the Republicans, the voting results certainly didn’t look so good for the Dems. While they won (maintained) several seats, the races were close. Really close. I’m talking 55%-45% in a lot of cases, and even closer than that in some others. We’re raising our voices, but I know we can be louder. And it’s obvious they noticed a little during the campaign season. Obama wouldn’t have spent time endorsing O’Malley if the party wasn’t concerned they had a close race and might actually lose that seat for the crucial term in which redistricting occurs. While we’ve got their attention, we can’t let our voices die down.
“The voice was so faint he could just barely hear it.
‘Speak up, please,’ said Horton. He put his ear near it.
‘My friend,’ came the voice, ‘you’re a very fine friend.
You’ve helped all us folks on the dust speck no end.
You’ve saved all our houses. our ceilings and floors.
You’ve saved all our churches and grocery stores.’
‘You mean…’ Horton gasped, ‘you have buildings there, too?’
‘Oh, yes,’ piped the voice. ‘We most certainly do…’”
The momentum we had this election is real, though some may not see it. They’re too entrenched in the past. Too caught up in the liberal media (yup, I went there) to see the real story. And those on the other side who do look and the numbers and are aware of the rising tide of conservatism in this state will do all they can to defame us, call us crazy, link every single one of us with the “radical, dangerous and racist” Tea Party movement they love to villainize. But that can’t be a deterrent. We must yell louder still.
“But just as he spoke to the Mayor of the speck,
three big jungle monkeys climbed up Horton’s neck!
The Wickersham Brothers came shouting, ‘What rot!
This elephant’s talking to Whos who are not!
There aren’t any Whos! And they don’t have a Mayor!
And we’re going to stop all this nonsense! So there!’”
And as we look forward to the 2012 election and the 2014 election beyond that, we cannot give up. We are here. And we deserve to be heard. And it’s obvious no one outside of our own grassroots movements is going to give us a megaphone, so we have to yell louder on our own. But we’re going to need to make sure that every one of us who believes in a red (or at least purple) Maryland is making their voice heard, and not just on election day.
“‘Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor!’ Horton called. ‘Mr. Mayor!
You’ve got to prove now that you really are there!
So call a big meeting. Get everyone out.
Make every Who holler! Make every Who shout!
Make every Who scream! If you don’t, every Who
is going to end up in a Beezle-Nut stew!’
And, down on the dust speck, the scared little Mayor
quick called a big meeting in Who-ville Town Square.
And his people cried loudly. They cried out in fear:
‘We are here! We are here! We are here! We are here!’”
Now at this point in the story (in our story), if you’re not getting fired up, you might want to check your pulse. It’s clear that just voting isn’t enough anymore. We’ve got to get involved, get down in the trenches, go to rallies, volunteer for a campaign, support our cause not just on election day, but all the days leading up to it. And we need to hold each other accountable, because if we can’t count on each other to fight for what we believe in, who can we count on?
“And Horton called back, ‘I can hear you just fine.
But the kangaroos’ ears aren’t as strong, quite, as mine.
They don’t hear a thing! Are you sure all your boys
are doing their best? Are they ALL making noise?
Are you sure every Who down in Who-ville is working?
Quick! Look through your town! Is there anyone shirking?’”
I’m sure you know the story, read it hundreds of times as a kid, to your kids, to your grandkids; but it’s for us too. And when Dr. Seuss wrote it (and very intentionally placed an Elephant as the hero), it was a message about people who needed freedom from oppression, because after all “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” And I know you know how the book ends; the mayor discovers Jo-Jo “who standing, just standing, and bouncing a yo-yo,” but read it. Really read it and pay attention to the meaning of the words, they should be our grassroots anthem:
“And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.
‘This,’ cried the Mayor, ‘is your town’s darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
to come to the aid of their country!’ he said.
‘We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!’
Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,
The lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, ‘YOPP!’
And that Yopp…
That one small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally at last! From that speck on that clover
their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean.
And the elephant smiled. ‘Do you see what I mean?…
They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All!’”