Saturday, November 20, 2010

While we wait to count the write-in votes...

...here's a little story from 1944 Canada that rings true here and now:

Mouseland run by the cats

The Premier of Saskatchewan gave the following speech in 1944 when
running for office. It is quite apt in today's America:

"This is the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place
where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they
lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a parliament. And every four years they had an election.
Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got
a ride to the polls.

And got a ride for the next four years afterwards, too. Just like you
and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to
the ballot box and they used to elect a government.

A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government of cats,
look at the history of Canada for the last 90 years and maybe you'll see
they weren't any stupider then us.

Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They conducted their
government with dignity. They passed good laws - that is, laws that were
good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good
for mice. One of the laws said that mouse holes had to be big enough so
a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only run at
certain speeds - so a cat could get his breakfast without too much
effort.

All the laws were good laws. For cats.

But, oh, they were hard on mice. And life was getting harder and harder.
And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided that
something had to be done. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted
the black cats out. They put in white cats.

Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said, "All
Mouseland needs is more vision." They said, "The trouble with Mouseland
is the round mouse holes. If you put us in we'll make square mouse
holes." And they did. And the square mouse holes were twice as big as
the round ones, and now a cat could get both paws in.

And life was tougher then ever.

And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out
and black ones in again. Then they went back to white cats. Then to
black cats.

They even tried half black and half white cats. And they called that a
coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on
them: They were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate
like a cat.

You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The
trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they
naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends,
watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other
mice, "Look fellows, why do we keep electing a government made up of
cats? Why don't we elect a government made up of mice?"

"Oh," they said, "he's a Bolshevik. Lock him up!" So they put him in jail.

But I want to remind you: That you can lock up a mouse or a man but you
can't lock up an idea."

- Tommy Douglas, 1944