For months I have tried to find out the overarching cosmic character of the 2020 election.
There was something so strange about the Joe Biden-Kamala-Harris hiding strategy in the basement and something equally strange about the Donald Trump Mike Pence strategy of staying out, staying on the offensive, staying on the move.
The pattern of what we have seen is not Democrat vs. Republican. It was not liberal against conservative. It is something primitive and symbolic, almost like the fable of an Aesop.
Then it became clear to me.
We are witnessing a contest between a rabbit and an American bear.
The Bunny Rabbit is hidden in the basement of the Biden. He is shy, careful, likes small meetings – preferably with people who are locked up in cars. He avoids exhaustion by simply not working.
I began to sense this image of the shy, exhausted Rabbit when Biden took five of six days off before the last debate (the day he did something in public, it was a strange car rally, like a small drive-in movie theater in Durham, North Carolina). Then it was back to the basement – apparently the bunny was exhausted from that one event.
The Bunny is intimidated by COVID-19, just wants to hide and hope that he disappears. The bunny wants to minimize contact with the public to avoid difficult questions. He wants to evade any obligations with controversial questions. In fact, the rabbit feels so comfortable hiding in the basement that he thinks everyone should be isolated. A shutdown would be fine to protect everyone from the virus – even if he drives them into bankruptcy.
The Rabbit’s opponent is exactly the opposite.
The bear fears nothing. As a bear it likes to jump around, entertains crowds and likes to be surrounded by people. There, where the hare fears the virus, the bear has already had it and is again in full strength. If the rabbit is afraid of making a mistake that will cause people to make fun of him (which happens at least once a week), the bear acts cheerfully, learns from all mistakes and moves on.
Of course, bees – members of the news media who love the rabbit and hate the bear – buzz around the candidates.
The rabbit does the math. After 47 years of constant effort, often with embarrassingly bad results, he finally has a chance at the big litter. He could become the big rabbit – unless something prevents him from doing so.
The rabbit knows that the bees hate the bear and will do everything to drive him back into the forest. That is why the rabbit relies on the bees for two big tasks. First, the bees have to sting the bear every day and if necessary, they have to form a swarm to keep the bear confused and on the defensive. Second, the rabbit knows that the bees will protect it, so it can lie and hide. The bees would never sting the rabbit – even with the most obvious lies or the most obvious examples of family corruption.
As the favorite hare of the bees, he knows there is very little he can do, and the bees will make up for his lack of effort.
The bear knows that he is in exactly the opposite position to the rabbit. The bees have been attacking him for five years in a row. When they couldn’t find any real scandals, they simply invented some. The bear has always seen itself on the defensive – and mostly against untruths invented by its enemies.
The bear has also learned that even when it does something remarkable, the enemy bees ignore it. Get three countries to recognize Israel and trade with it for the first time in 25 years, and the bees yawn and look for something to attack the bear with. Act before anyone else by stopping travel from China to save lives from the Chinese virus and being attacked for alleged xenophobia. Move a Navy hospital ship and four Army field hospitals to New York City (and let the US Corps of Engineers convert a convention center into a 1200-bed hospital), and the bees praise Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose policies have killed more Americans from COVID-19 than any other governor.
The bear has learned to be loud because the bees will never acknowledge his triumphs and achievements.
The rabbit did not irritate many people because it hid in the basement for hours every day (and sometimes all day).
The bear annoyed some people because his constant fight with the bees made him appear aggressive – he is a fighting bear, not a stuffed animal bear.
The American people, confused by the hidden rabbit in the basement and cautious of the aggressive bear on stage, have a difficult question to answer.
Is the world safe enough to trust a hidden rabbit in the basement to protect us, our children, our neighborhoods and our country?
Or is the world simply too dangerous to put our trust in a tired, shy, hidden bunny?
Or is the world so difficult, the challenges so great and the threats so serious that we need a bear – even if it is sometimes a noisy or irritating bear?
After all, the rabbit has spent 47 years in office, and now he promises to fix everything that he hasn’t fixed (or even broken) for over half a century.
Meanwhile, in four short years, the bear has spoken on every major policy, reformed the judicial system, built the strongest economy in American history, created the lowest unemployment rate for African Americans and Latinos, and aggressively pursued a bold plan for vaccines against COVID-19.
The rabbit in the basement or the bear on stage?
The American people will decide next week.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author….