Explaining the Inexplicable

Donkeys in a pasture
Image courtesy of Franky242 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it comes to politics, nationalism, and economics, everyone, it seems, (including me) is seeking to explain “the Donald Trump…”, the “Bernie Sanders…”, “The Brexit … ” phenomena. And, when it comes to enigmas, I am the first to admit I am no Winston Churchill or Alan Turing – and not to offend Polish readers, I’m also not a Marian Rejewski, a Jerzy Rozycki, or Henry Zygalski…the cryptologists who initially cracked the  “uncrackable”  Enigma, the Nazi Code Machine.

If you will please bear with me for a few paragraphs or so, I am going to digress here, to tell you an ancient Armenian saga. And when I finish, I am quite certain, you will not need the political pundits or the cryptologists to explain the poppycock Donald Trump or the ground-roots popularity of Bernie. (Now that is what we call political bias, Mr. Mooradian).

Eons ago, while sharing his wine and lavash and cheese with me under the mulberry tree, the centenarian Armen Dye, whose role as groundskeeper and gardener and in-house philosopher at the famous Pioneers Palace in Yerevan, told me the following story. It went something like this:

…Once upon a time there was this not-to-wise farmer. His name was Ashot. Ashot had a donkey (ehshe) which he used to plow his field and carry his produce to market. Ashot usually fed and treated his loyal donkey well, and the donkey repaid his master, laboring without stubbornness or complaints, and you know how stubborn a mule can be.

However, one evening Ashot was distracted and forgot to feed the animal. The following day as he worked the field, the donkey, decided to stage a sit-down strike. The animal folded his legs, and slipped to the soil. Ashot immediately realized the injustice – he had not fed his loyal laborer and the ehshe (ass) had no other recourse but to halt production. The farmer promised, after pleading, even begging, that once they got back to the barn he “would take care of him”.

But once in the barn, Arshot became belligerent – “How dare this ass make demands of me – I am the boss here. He must obey me.” So he didn’t feed him that evening. Or the next. Or the next. And the farmer realized that by not feeding the jackass he was also saving a lot of money.

Several days passed, then one evening Ashot heard a loud terrible sound come from the barn. He rushed out and a cold shill enveloped him. He glanced down at the animal. It had died. In tears, Ashot moaned, “If only you had worked one more day, I would have fed you.”

Labor is sick and tired of waiting…

The jobless remain jobless, and have given up hope of finding a job….

If you’re “fortunate” enough to be employed these days, and dare to ask for a raise…forget it. Your boss will tell you “This isn’t the time for raises.” And then you learn that the corporation is planning to move its operation overseas.

Political candidates seek power “to make changes and get rid of the elitists,” they assure us that they want office to care “for the poor and downtrodden.” But, once in office do they not become the “rich man’s friend?”

Once in office, politicians enact anti-labor laws such as NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – then add salt to labor’s wounds by joining TPP – The Trans-Pacific Partnership – so why do we wonder or why are we stunned when England’s voters decide to turn up their noses at the Europe and vote to exit the EU!

As Tony Blair, the ex-Prime Minister of England noted on “Morning Joe” the other day… “The elite today are so disconnected (with the labor class). We’re living in a bubble. And this isn’t only happening here in England. It’s happening everywhere….in France, in Italy, in Germany…in Romania…everywhere…”

And, dear Mr. Blair…it has been that way now in these United States for decades. How else can you explain the popularity of a Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump?

In time, the “elite” evaporate; the people, however, have been here since the beginning of time.

One doesn’t need the services of a cryptologist to understand this: Workers today are sick and tired of waiting for the crumbs to fall from the rich man’s table. And they have worked to put the rich man there; now, they want a seat at the table. Fear not those who rush for the crumbs that fall from the table. Fear those, who stand back and watch…

Yes, that last paragraph, I updated from what the brilliant Oscar Wilde wrote in the late 19th Century. The chair of the middle class has been snatched from beneath us and the nation is plummeting into a black hole by the senseless and irrational behavior of a divided Congress.

In the tinderbox of the world, it would be wise to remember the words of an undelivered speech of one of the greatest presidents of our country, Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death: “Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace…”

Do you think it’s possible?

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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