[This article originally ran on November 17th. In honor of 2017, the Year of the Rooster, I am reprinting it here. Have a Happy New Year!]
Our reality has changed.
I decided to start this blog to inform myself, and maybe, somebody, others about what was happening in Georgia, policy-wise. All the good journalists are saying that the funds are drying up, that nobody can afford local correspondents to cover the town halls and mayor races. That could be me, I thought.
Then a racist, sexist, tax evading, cowardly, lying, philandering, cheating, sexual abuser named Donald Trump walked into the White House. We know he didn’t win, obviously, or that he did, but only in the most technical sense. And now we’re asked to “give him a chance,” as though the past 18 months, through the primary and the general, throughout the insults and the game-changers and the leaks, weren’t his chance. He’s shown us what type of person he is. We gave him a chance.
There’s lots of panic, lot of rage getting knocked around. Maybe you saw this series of tweets responding to the news that Steve Bannon is now “chief strategist” of the Trump White House:
“this is America!” Ignoring that until Hitler, Germans felt the same way about “but this is Germany!”
— Pookleblinky (@pookleblinky) November 15, 2016
You really need to read the whole thing, because it somehow manages to be breathlessly hysterical and sobering at the same time.
Do I think Teflon Don is a fascist? No, I don’t, but only because I think he’s too arrogant and unfocused to adhere to any ideology that isn’t his personal enrichment. And I also don’t think that he’s smart enough, or motivated enough, to impose any kind of totalitarian regime. But I do think that he’s weak-willed, impulsive, and rash. He has the opinion of the last person to speak to him, and at some point during the next four years, that person is going to be Steve Bannon. Maybe the anti-Islamic white nationalist elements of the right manipulate him into implementing repressive policies against minorities. Maybe, in a fit of pique, he tries to suspend the First Amendment rights of the protesters at Trump Tower. Neither of those scenarios end very well, and those are only the domestic ones.
You’ve heard about the sheepdog concept, right? I spend my time in certain areas of the internet where it’s a very popular notion. The basic idea, as put forth by Lt. Col. Dave Gross, is that there are sheep (good guys), wolves (bad guys), and sheepdogs (good guys with guns). He writes that:
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence…the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.” Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
It’s an analogy used by a lot of CCW advocates and a lot of people in the prepping community generally. There are some problems with the analogy, as with all things, and we’d do well not to ignore them. But as a heuristic, it works well, and as a stroke-off for pro-2A types like me, it works even better.
Trouble is, these days, it’s not sufficient. Grossman is correct when he writes that “there are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds.” But when you’re only looking for wolves, you miss other threats. While your sheepdog is keeping an eye on your flock, there are foxes in the henhouse.
I’m very fond of this version, and I think (although I’ve refused to check, in case I’m wrong) that I came up with it, at least in this form. You can guard yourself from wolves, but when the mechanisms and institutions that you have constructed for your protection are compromised, what do you do? What happens when the foxes are in the henhouse?
You need a cock.
That is to say, you need a big, swaggering rooster. A rooster with those fuck-off claws and beady eyes. You need something so full of piss and meanness that it’ll go after anything that’s taken a step into its space. Something arrogant, and maybe stupid enough, to think that it can win that fight.
Calling Trump a fox does a great disservice to foxes, but that’s the world we’re living in today. We let him inside the henhouse, but we don’t have to let him start killing chickens. Do you know your neighbors? How many of them would join you if you knocked on their door and said, “I’m going to Johnny Isakson’s town hall. You in?” Do you know where the mosques are in your community? Do they know that you stand for them?
Call your congressmen. Call your senators. Be polite, but don’t be ignored. When Trump, or one of Trump’s people, crosses that line, let them know that you know. Make sure they hear you. Make noise.
Because after all, that’s the other great thing about roosters: they’re wake-up calls, too.