Balwaan McCain

Not Balwaan. Looks more like Reghawaan.

What in the hell is he talking about?, you’re asking.

Well, let me lay it out for you. Pictured above is a mahout and an Indian elephant. Don’t they look happy together? 

Elephants are some of the more remarkable animals on this little globe. They’re smart, deeply emotional, and, when treated properly, extremely loyal. That old saw about how an elephant never forgets is not too far off the mark, either. The elephant, as you well know, is also a symbol of the Republican Party. This fact will become more salient as we proceed.

In India and parts of Southern and Southeast Asia, people have tamed elephants. Note that I do not say “domesticated.” These animals never really assume that they’re part of the human herd, but they can cooperate with us under certain circumstances. Still, the pachyderms are put to work hauling logs and such, as well as being tourist draws. I once took a short ride on the back of an elephant myself. (They have very coarse, prickly hair.)

Humans being what they are, there are different approaches that mahouts take to control the elephants under their care. Some, embodying what is good about our species, use love and affection to control the beast. These relationships are usually the most secure. Of course, other mahouts use cruelty to impose their wills upon these stately beasts–this type of mahout is known as Balwaan. If continually poking an elephant with a sharp stick seems like a bad idea to you, well, you’re right. Then again, a lot of assholes in our culture treat their pet dogs with similar cruelty. And, sometimes, when you’ve beaten a dog too much, it can’t take anymore. Turns out elephants share this characteristic with canines.

Sometimes, when an elephant has been treated too badly, it snaps. When it does this, it will go on a rampage that usually kills several people. Almost always, the cruel mahout, identified by the longsuffering elephant as the primary source of its misery, is the first to get snatched up and killed. Yes, the elephants will pick them up with their trunks (occasionally, if the mahout is riding when the elephant has had too much, the animal will pluck him right off of its back), throw them around, and trample them. Here we see the folly inherent in being habitually cruel to an animal that can weigh as much as eight tons.

Now let me bring this back to politics. It turns out that John McCain, along with his safari-loving, bespectaled Bibi Devil, have been acting as balwaan mahouts do: continually goading an elephant. Well, the day may be coming when that elephant has had too much. And, like when that happens literally, the results are not going to be pretty.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain was booed at his own rally on Friday as he tried to rein in increasingly raw anger among supporters stunned by Democrat Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.

Speaking in a Minneapolis suburb, McCain — who had escalated character attacks on Obama in recent days — found himself in the unlikely role of defending his rival in the face of sometimes hostile questions from frustrated Republican loyalists.

He drew boos from a crowd packed into a high school gymnasium when he insisted to a skeptical supporter that Obama was a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared (of) as president of the United States.”

McCain appeared to be trying to dial down the ugly tone that has crept into his rallies, including anti-Obama taunts from the crowd, as his campaign has faltered amid a financial crisis that polls show most Americans believe Obama would be better able to handle.

McCain’s own sharpened rhetoric, including questions about Obama’s association with former 1960s radical William Ayers — an issue he raised again on Friday — has been seen as counterproductive to attracting unaffiliated voters.

“We want to fight and I want to fight, but we will be respectful,” McCain said during a question-and-answer session with voters at a campaign event in Lakeville. But when he then added, “I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments,” the crowd jeered loudly.

“That doesn’t mean you have to reduce your ferocity,” he said. “It’s just got to be respectful.”

McCain was quick to insist that only a tiny fraction of those at his campaign events had said anything disrespectful of Obama, who would be America’s first black president.

While a number of questioners at Friday’s town hall expressed concerns about Obama, one woman went further.

“I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him. He’s an Arab,” she said, echoing a false assertion that has crept into some right-wing blogs on the Internet.

McCain shook his head in disagreement and cut her off, grabbing the microphone back. “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, (a) citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues … He’s not,” he said.

Earlier, a man told McCain, “Frankly, we’re scared, we’re scared of an Obama presidency.” He said he was especially worried that “someone who cohorts with domestic terrorists” might be in a position to choose Supreme Court justices.

“He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared (of) as president of the United States,” McCain responded, drawing boos and shouts of “No.”

Here’s where the analogy breaks down: While I feel pity for the poor, mistreated Asian elephants, I have no such feeling for the GOP base. There’s another part, though, that is spot-on. I feel no pity either for McCain or the balwaan mahouts. They get what’s coming to them.

Yes, there are problems with the article, too. That part about the “ugly tone that has crept into” McCain’s campaign events? What, was the tone lurking outside and then sneaked past security? Bullshit. McCain brought it, and it blew up in his face. He was trying to get the wingnuts behind him, and, oh looky looky loo, the shit that appeals to those crazed, frothing lunatics tends to alienate people who still have functioning neurons. 

I imagine that the balwaan mahout, facing an enraged elephant, tries his best in those final seconds to calm the beast. It never works for him, and it’s not going to work for McCain.

Sheesh, why do I save some of my best stuff for the weekend? 

11 thoughts on “Balwaan McCain

  1. Great analogy. As much as it would be great to see them eat their own candidates, I fear the ramped up bad energy may be used by the current lame duck (tho’ srsly, ‘lame’ doesn’t even begin to cover these last 8 years of travesty) regime to live their fantasy of suspending elections.
    Now, if the rampaging eddefints were to smackdown darth & dumbya as well as venting their spleen on mcpow & bullwinkle-barbie before such a decree…I would watch the reruns w/a relish.

  2. Glad you pointed out the craptacular “crept into” bullshit in the article — dreadful, deceptive, passive-voice abdication of responsibility writing: Professional Journalismâ„¢ at its current best.

  3. Lets just hope that the firing squad the GOPers form after Nov 4 is of the circular variety.
    And well armed.
    But, we should be prepared to form our own firing squad if the circular shape does not appear.

  4. I’m glad I stopped in this morning. As everybody else has said, great analogy, Jude.
    My very great hope is that the really, really loonie parts of the Republican party are going to get marginalized by this. I believe that there are a lot of good, decent Republicans who are as horrified by this kind of thing as we are. Let’s hope they take their party back.
    That would, I think, leave us with a three party system. 🙂 Everybody happy!

  5. “Sheesh, why do I save some of my best stuff for the weekend?”
    to reward those of us who read on weekends?

  6. Countdown had a video vignette this week where they interviewed people going to a McCain rally. Of course, I don’t know how many people they interviewed to get the clips they aired, but I was struck by the continual pressure in their voice expressing outright hatred. I was struck by the cries of he’s a Muslim / he’s a terrorist.

  7. In India and parts of Southern and Southeast Asia, people have tamed elephants.
    Yes, all of us. Right after the cutting of the umbilical cord and before the ritual feast of monkey brains, every Indian child gets a tamed elephant. Mine’s named Stampy.

  8. Dude. Past perfect tense there: People(subject) have tamed(past perfect auxiliary & main verb) elephants(object).
    That’s not a simple past tense indicating ownership.

  9. Oh ok, you could have said that less ambiguously, but what the hey. Although, if I were to have my own elephant, which would be totally cool, I’d name him Stampy.
    Did you know that our very own Henry Vilas zoo is elephant-free because zoos have been deemed inadequate for elephant care? But, they had a couple until 2000 and the smell on my street on a hot day was not pretty.

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