Many years ago I was accepted to graduate school at the University of Minnesota and rode my first airplane from Boston to Minneapolis. I remember my first view of the campus included images of a rodent, a gopher, featured in billboards and signs up and down fraternity row.
The State of Minnesota chose the gopher as its animal mascot, for reasons that include a widely published satirical political cartoon depicting the local politicians each with a gopher on their heads. This apparently captured the withered imagination of the populace and became the animal of record for the State. The University of Minnesota football team adopted the gopher as its mascot, and an energetic marketing savvy sports announcer added the “golden” adjective to the name so it became, and remains, the Golden Gophers.
As animal mascots go, the gopher, a burrowing rodent, seems quite unlikely to stimulate the competitive juices of young men and women who engage in sports combat. Eagles and bears and lions and tigers seem better suited to inspire necessary quantities of adrenaline and bravery.
On first sight, I laughed at the choice of the gopher, and I still smile inside whenever the beloved Goldy pops his head, cheeks and buck teeth onto a billboard or runs across the gridiron.
Upon further and deeper and older reflection, today, I admire the bonding and absolute dedication the fans of Minnesota have toward this mascot. There is never any doubt about the goodness of Goldy, about his character or behavior, or about his relative merit when compared to cougars and wolves and hawks. Goldy the Golden Gopher, is beloved and this relationship is passed down from generation to generation, even to initially dumbfounded nonbelievers such as myself.
But next door, and a few doors down, there are equally beloved animals, adopted and embraced by the populaces of fans separated only by the geographic borders of a few miles. There are badgers, wolverines, hawkeyes, cardinals, bison and coyotes. As many of you know, we are eternally committed to removing the horror and pain and damage caused by the continued illegal use of Indigenous Mascots – we urge everyone to work to deny every non-indigenous organization on earth the right to appropriate the culture, religion, images, names, artifacts and sacred elements of indigenous people as mascots for the profit and amusement of non-indigenous people. CHANGE THE MASCOTS. FIGHT AGAINST THE REDSKINS AND INDIANS AND REDMEN AND SAVAGES AND …………..!
There are two national mascots that we need to talk about. They are the elephant and the donkey.
Elephants, for our international friends, signify Republicans, the conservative capitalist political party in America. Donkeys signify Democrats, the labor oriented, minority embraced liberal political party. As with all such mascots, there are rabid knee-jerk supporters, there are lukewarm supporters and there are fans who switch loyalties based upon victories or personalities or specific performance based criteria. In America, for most of the populace, the subconscious and conscious construct has become simplified beyond belief to – us versus them.
US vs THEM
The us and them are loosely defined. You know it when you see it. You know it when you feel it. You know it when you hear it. There are many triggers – some race based, some religion based, some economic, some immigrant based, some gender, some LGBT, some guns, some trickle down, some trickle up, some wealth based, some urban vs rural, some a strange brew like farming that mixes libertarians with socialists.
Politicians conduct their discourse through the mouths of mascot puppets. The camera and microphone zoom in on the mascot, not the human. The mascot becomes the discussion. Is your talking puppet an elephant or a donkey, we ask? That becomes all we need to know.
Sports mascots are about games. They are not about life or death – unless you are a donkey and believe in chronic brain and body injuries from football and hockey and gymnastics. They are not about life or death unless you are an elephant and convince your children that an intense commitment to sports at the expense of academics is the ticket to the future.
Politicians have become liars, distorters, self centered careerists who will do and say anything that seems to make their puppet mascot happy. The fans of the politicians root for the home team – them, against us.
At Y Worlds, we urge you, everyone, to reject politics. Reject its superficial coating. Reject the little hand puppet animal trying to communicate with you and attract you to their message. If a puppet tries to talk with you, tries to get your vote or support, demand to talk with the ventriloquist directly, on your terms, with your questions and explicit needs, according to knowledge and systems and beneficent principles for all. If the puppet can’t deliver, and most can not, find a trustworthy person with lifelong principles and actions that wants to make a better world for all, not a person seeking a comfortable self-serving career for him or her self.
Start from zero. Put everything you believe aside. And use a Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems based Proof Process to reconstruct what it means to be mentally alive, intellectually vigorous, humane and compassionate, and dedicated to a sustainable future for all – not us and not them – all.
Y Worlds. Free the mascots. Turn puppets into gloves. Make gloves, not war. Make sense, not politics. Build a cooperative movement, a world, based upon NETS. Support NETS, the party of your mind.