When We Feed the Wolf….

In the aftermath of (yet another) movie theater shooting, my friend Chris Douglas posted a thoughtful warning–one we should take seriously but won’t, if history is any guide.

“Accounts from acquaintances, law enforcement officials and court records portrayed Mr. Houser, 59, of Phenix City, Ala., who also took his own life, as a man with a diffuse collection of troubles and grievances — personal, political and social — who had a particular anger for women, liberals, the government and a changing world.”

By the way, our political currents have a lot of people like this swimming in them…Angry and just shy of mentally unstable, if not already there, their emotions and incomplete thoughts are easily whipped up by calculating politicians. It’s what McCain was referring to when he said Trump was whipping up the crazies. It isn’t a minor phenomenon; it’s a major one. It destroyed Germany and produced war in Europe, and genocides all over.

The fellow could be dismissed as an isolated nut job… or viewed as a glimpse of what lies beneath the surface… ISIS is an eruption of such people, given free reign to do their worst when all else has failed in the Middle East… when societies fail to deliver the goods, other forces are there to take over. Let’s not fool ourselves that we are different from the rest of humanity.

One of the “goods” that governments are supposed to deliver is a fair economic system that provides citizens with a genuine chance to improve their conditions– a truly level playing field.

As Chris points out, one of the dangers of extreme inequality is social unrest. Most people can live with an economy that rewards some jobs and some workers more than others, but when the prevailing order is seen as rigged and grossly unfair, when the magnitude of reward is clearly disproportionate to the value of the social contribution, tolerance for disparities disappears. Grievances grow. People already on the edge go over it.

There’s a parable I’ve always loved, attributed to various Native American tribes:

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. The other is good.

When the grandson then asked his grandfather:”which wolf wins?..,” the grandfather replied, “the one that you feed.”

We need to think long and hard about what our policies are feeding.


  1. I love that Native American parable and hope it is fully understood and will be heeded by those who can and will use it wisely. The Viewpoints article in the Indianapolis Star this morning works into it’s meaning and should be a warning to the Democratic Party. “Fractures threaten to divide Democrats”, written by Michael Barone, a columnist who contributes to the Fox News Channel but do not let that scare you off. He doesn’t appear to overtly take sides on the issues used as examples; none of us should use one issue as the basis for our vote come election day because they are all vital. They all matter because all Americans matter.

    Now is the time for the Democratic Party to “circle the wagons”; the list of issues can be enumerated after the elections – the 2015 election at this time is as vital as the route we take to the 2016 presidential election. I worry that the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will burn out before 2016. If Democrats are elected this year, then and only then can they/we do anything about anything. “Black lives matter”, economic justice movement matters; but controlling gerrymandering, securing voter registration nationally, immigration reform, raising minimum wage, protecting women’s health care options and LGBT rights, STOPPING the repeated attemps to repeal the ACA, actually repealing Citizens United must not be pushed to the background because without resolving these problems the infighting between Democrats over what is the primary issue in this election is meaningless. The Democratic party is “feeding the wolves”, and currently that entire wolf pack of Republican presidential wannabes are gaining ground. When the likes of Donald Trump is leading the pack of contenders, I fear Republican voters more than the Republican party itself…a wolf pack in Bible thumping sheep’s clothing.

  2. I certainly agree with the comments of Mr. Douglas, but do not follow the leap to “deliver the goods.” The “troubles and grievances” of Mr. Houser don’t sound to me like they have anything to do with economics.

  3. William; “women, liberals, the government and changing times” ARE the economics of today.

    “… when societies fail to deliver the goods, other forces are there to take over. Let’s not fool ourselves that we are different from the rest of humanity.” The Tea Party knew this and got a foothold which has taken over and has developed into a governmental society which “fails to deliver the goods” needed by the vast majority of Americans today. Those “goods” are the services our tax dollars are to be providing to the American public by elected officials but…privately owned elected officials, like privately owned businesses, make their own rules and enforce them. Republicans are accomplishing their view of “the goods” under the guise of pseudo religion. Our current Congress is no more made up of Christians than the large group of baboons known as a congress.

  4. There is another saying involving wolves. “We have grabbed a Wolf by the Ears and dare not let Go”. Our country has always been divided some what. What is happening IMHO is the differences among us are being amplified and exploited.

    JoAnn, as far as that Michael Barone Article, Democrats may be divided but the competition of ideas is good. The Republicans have no such competition of ideas. Bernie Sanders is my choice for President. The ideas in his platform he has enunciated for years, such as a level playing field for all people, and Medicare for all. Bernie has walked the talk. Bernie Sanders, is drawing huge crowds far in excess of either Hillary Clinton or any Republican. Bernie is not going to “Burn out” his campaign is heating up.

  5. Nothing “feeds the wolf” like the relentless attacks on Americanism from the Left.

    The Left really needs to back off, calm down and remove itself from the political scene for a few decades so America can heal from the Left’s decades of attacks.

  6. First I have to say today’s blog strikes me as extra profound, a high bar indeed, both in content and presentation. I’d like to know more about Mr Douglas and Cherokee wisdom and how to think and write like Sheila.

    Consider the biggest societal opportunities of here and now. Climate change, education (opportunity), international relations, wealth distribution, violence, population, health care. Consider also that society, for good and bad, has one institution that organizes and empowers solutions to societal problems across the entire breadth of society. Government. Consider that nearly half of our society has suffered a cultural lobotomy and no longer understands that government is the one tool that includes all of us that is capable of addressing societal opportunities. Why did that occur? Because the powerful want more power and their strength is wealth.

    These societal threats and opportunities will not be addressed until capable democratic government is restored. Like the Cherokee proverb, simple truth.

    As a Project Management Professional I have learned and demonstrated that getting complex things done starts with orgaization and planning. First things first.

    While all of the things that we have to fix are seemingly more important than politics, fixing our political world is the first step towards fixing everything else. That’s why oligarchs have taught Gopper and company to disable politics.

    While we’d love to do more more quickly, and we can, the critical path goes through restoring our wheezing wounded engine of governance first and foremost.

    The next opportunity is November of 2016. Keep your eye on that ball.

  7. Pete had it just right.

    And Gopper, you have succinctly expressed the essence of conservatism: fear. You would just rather everything stay the same until you die so you do not have to face your fear of change. The problem is that your sentiment, your voice, was the voice that excused slavery, the voice that allowed the continued silencing of women, the voice that condoned brutality of many different forms. We must adapt and change to survive, so we must ignore those conservative voices and move forward.

  8. The strength and weakness of our species is that we are unique among life forms in creating our future. All others respond to changes by adaptation either successfully or unsuccessfully.

    Our individual stories are a combination of what we decided and did and what happened, during our times, around us.

    Please join me in creating a better future for more of our successors. The fact that that’s our history is interwoven into our tale and should be the outcome of our existence as well.

  9. Gopper, what you see as the “relentless attacks on Americanism,” I see as the attempt to improve our situation. You can’t seriously sit there and tell me everything is copacetic in this country. I look around and see so many problems–economic inequalities and the death of the middle class, gerrymandering such that my vote never counts, out of control gun violence, the dumbing down of our youth, and on and on–but I also see the unique American potential of solving these problems. And the first step is getting people to see what’s wrong and how it could be better. What we need to be healed from is the right’s relentless attacks–on the poor, immigrants, women’s rights, non-Christians, the President, etc., etc.

  10. So “Nothing ‘feeds the wolf’ like the relentless attacks on Americanism from the Left.” Mr. Gooper, you wouldn’t mind providing some evidence for that, as well as some definitions for those terms like “Relentless attacks”, “Americanism”, “left”? Or is this just more silly provocation?

  11. I stumbled across a CNN video interview with 6 people all of whom professed to be oblivious to Donald Triumps shotcomings as a person much less a President.

    Their reasoning was breath taking.

    He’s a businessman. He took a lot of his fathers money and made it into a lot of his money in the gambling, entertainment and real estate markets. He’s flirted with bankruptcy.

    He says what he means and means what he says. So did Sadam Hussein.

    He’s not a politician. So was Bernie Madoff not.

    He’s against illegal immigrants. He has and offers no solutions.

    The fact that his name is ever mentioned in the same sentence as President is a sure sign of not only how far we’ve fallen but how little some know about the workings of government and the job of President.

    He’ll go down in history as the clown who buried the GOP.

  12. You can call it a coconut cream pie, Joy. Your pretend terms don’t change the harm you’re doing.

    “I look around and see so many problems–economic inequalities and the death of the middle class, ”

    But you support income taxes, gas taxes, license plate fees, sales taxes and all manner of regressive taxation. You support business regulation that keeps average folk from opening and running a business.

    I don’t believe you care about helping anyone except either Marxists or the wealthy, depending on your bent.

    “gerrymandering such that my vote never counts,”

    But your party has locked up the election laws so that only two parties will ever be elected.

    “out of control gun violence,”

    But you oppose arming people at risk of gun violence.

    ” the dumbing down of our youth,”

    But you support the teachers’ union and public schools which did it.

  13. Hey, Pete, no need to be scared of Trump. He won’t beat you up, but he might teach you how to wear a suit the right way.

    Buchanan has a good article on Trump. I’m sure you can find it.

  14. Gopper. I cheer Trump’s candidacy. He’s confirming what’s been said here about the red party for years. By the time he gets done running his mouth all will be revealed to everyone from the source itself. It’s like having a Koch talking publically rather than hiding behind the hired mouthpieces on Fox.

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