Chuck Bino: Thoughts on benefactors and behemoths
Hyenas and crows are far separated on Darwin’s tree of life, but share a common reality. Both depend on the largesse of more powerful predators for “leavings,” or they must be nearby when the subject “meal” expires. It is their nature not to supply their own kill. They do a necessary job as Nature’s cleanup crew. However, most will protest loudly if their enjoyment of a scavenged bounty is threatened.
We humans can be both self-providers and among those provided for. Vulnerable and dependent at both ends of our journeys, we have expectations on the stronger among us for help. We might protest for our needs at these times, as we can’t fend for ourselves. It is also expected that we have help from family and other benefactors. The big problem occurs when the family unit is about nonexistent and people depend on the “government” and the promises of politicians. Like the predator in nature, the politician will go after the most emotionally and physically vulnerable.
Unlike the natural predator, the same politician (or government) can appear as a benefactor. You’ve seen the list before that includes housing, food stamps, free cell phones, fuel subsidies, tax breaks, never-ending unemployment benefits; the problem involves the citizens, corporations, and now, the nation of South Africa. Let’s forget about the aid to Egypt and Syria for today.
Being a viable benefactor implies some accountability and prudence, maybe a little scrutiny and cost/benefit analysis. The key word is “viable,” Mr. President. I could almost sense the sarcasm in Bishop Desmond Tutu’s comments to you when he said that if you were successful, so would they be. I’m sure he had that $7 billion gift to South Africa from you in mind. We are broke, Mr. President, yet you offer gifts to help others with their energy needs. You remind me of the near-sighted Mr. Magoo, who stumbled around his relationships, blind to the scene around him, but a lovable, well meaning benefactor. These descriptions include your friends in the legislatures. Yes, real life examples of true “benefactors.”
We’ve seen examples of hyenas and crows lately, as well. Think back to Wisconsin and that governor’s race, the noise from unions whenever right to work takes place or to donate to their own retirement; sequestration doom-sayers. Then, we have our own drama queens in the NAACP and “moral Monday” soap opera. The willing media is complicit in acting like “scavengers” or bottom feeders. It is like a virtual symphony in complaints and enabling.
Having been accused of promoting fiction in this column, I thought I’d end with an original short story:
“The once mighty, wounded behemoth lumbers nearer to one of two possibilities: either that ancestral burial ground or the oasis. Along the remaining path, countless impatient scavengers are swiping pieces of its slowly disappearing flesh … like a painful death from millions of tiny cuts. They are not being discouraged by his driver who sits atop and understands that his job is almost over. Far enough above and removed from the hungry mob, he doesn’t fear becoming part of the feast. It comforts the driver to encourage the needy crowds below, as he then becomes less of a prey. Only a temporary provider, he knows that in a short while it will be over. He can either pass the reins to another less fortunate driver, or proudly claim that he has fundamentally transformed the behemoth. The lustful crowd is oblivious to the approaching outcome, which was always known to the driver … that the behemoth was the last one.”
Chuck Bino lives in High Point with his wife, Sue, after technical and management careers in manufacturing and retail. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.