Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sitting Bulls

In bullfighting, the matador uses various techniques to distract, insight, and injure a bull. Matadors use many tools and maneuvers to lure the bull. Among the tools used by the matador is his red cape. Allegedly, the bull becomes enraged when it sees the cape. This is where we get the phrase "seeing red".***

Like the bull, people of a certain political persuasion may hear certain words waved around the political arena, causing them to see red, and become testy. While the words that incite this type of response may vary from one voter to the next, at the helm of this political intifada are such words as "abortion" and "homosexuality". These words compel some individuals to see red.

Seeing red is a phrase which literally refers to a state of irritation or annoyance, so when people see red they are often so caught up in their aggravation that they cannot see beyond the narrowed scope of that red-caped word before them. Seeing with such constricted vision makes it impossible for them to look at any of the other applicable data related to the issue. The matter is then bound in the limited context of their anger and fear.

I don't qualify as a political pundit. You know the group of people who sound like experts on political issues, but really they get their info from "news" programs on TV who are really nothing more than political hacks. The journalists on these programs aren't really experts. They're just there to shape your views with their public opinion polls. However, the bull and cape metaphor is such a good fit for today's politics. I am no fan of bullfighting, and am less a fan of the way politicians use their political spin doctoring like the matador's cape to distract voters.

The political team behind the scenes puts their matador (candidate) in the arena (on the ballot). This bullfighter will be the only candidate on the party ticket--republican or democrat. Those torros, (voters) often dangling on their last shred of faith in the teetering democratic system, don't really like the matador that's on the party ticket (much less want him to run the Presidency), but are captivated by the fancy steering of those carefully placed political issues, and will vote all the more because anyone is better than that other guy. The candidate will gesture vehemently touting phrases like "abortion is wrong" and "homosexuality is wrong" (or fill in the blank with any hot button political issue) until he is sure that the voters finally have him (and only him) locked in their sights. The bulls, compelled to charge the polls and cast their votes, are essentially reacting to the flagrant displays of the skilled toreador, and is in effect manipulated into voting for a candidate he really doesn't want because that is what the cape is designed to do.

Given the state of politics these days, I tend to have little respect for people who emphatically endorse one candidate over the other. American voters who are lulled into the booths by candidates who marginalize hot button issues are little more than naive bulls swayed by the toreros expert deception. As with the bull's inevitable fate in the finale of the fight, the votes that they cast at the polls eventually culminate with the death of democracy.

***Note:

It is a known fact that bulls don't actually see red. In fact they, like many other animals, are color-blind. In truth, it is not the color of the cape, which insights the bull, rather the vigorous taunting at the hand of the cape which antagonizes the bull to charge. However, the red cape led to the phrase seeing red hence the metaphor for this post. As with most metaphors, this one isn't perfect by any means.

4 comments:

Jen White said...

LOVE IT Dionne! What a really unique metaphor and one I can get a handle on. politics is all very interesting and so scary isn't it? The way one can woo a crowd even if they don't want him.
I am so skeptical of politics.......and the people in it. I wonder if one can really have ALL my trust.

Btw- if I am ever in a dark alley, or in some kind of distress, you're the girl I want to have my back :) Love your tenacity and wit. You are quick girl.

Pot Liquor said...

Jen, you have such grace...

The truth is politics scare me. In fact, you probably won't find another political post on my blog ever again.

Maybe it's my own insecurity, or the fear of voting a President into office that goes on to lead the nation to hell in a hand basket. However, I have a hard time committing to one candidate

One candidate just doesn't seem to be the right fit for me. What if the candidate that I want has a little bit of Obama and a little bit of McCain all rolled up into one? And why am I less of a Christian because my political views don't necessarily match up with the next Christian's. I seriously shy away from this arena because it evokes so much anger in me.

P.S
I appreciate your gentle reproof.

Thanks for your comment.

Rebecca Snavely said...

Great metaphor - as you noted, all metaphors are flawed, but this is how the greatest truths are taught and sink in, through story. Slowly, slowly, perhaps people will steer away from black and white thinking, needing perfection in metaphor, to a deeper understanding and abiding presence in the place and present we already inhabit. Love your writing, thanks for posting this.

Jen White said...

I actually resonate with you about not wanting one candidate but a smoothie mixture....the best attributes of the two.
Unfortunately, that never happens. I used to say that I was voting for the lesser of two evils. This year I just feel like I am voting for the man who I think has a better grasp of changing America. I don't think American will go to hell in a hand-basket if McCain is elected......he's just not my first choice.

I want to encourage you though to be a part of the conversation. I know things make you made....they do me too.....but you have a lot of passion.....and compassion, and that goes a long way.
I want to hear more from you!

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