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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

They kill horses, don't they?

Barbaro when he injured his leg at The Preakness.

First of all, I have this thing about horses. They are exquisite. They are images of beauty and power and, for the most part, nobility. They provide imagery for the human spirit. Imagery is important. It is a vehicle of human thought.

So, after an eight-month struggle to heal Barbaro's smashed-up leg, disease won out, and he had to be put down. After his Kentucky Derby win, he seemed destined to become one of the equine personalities that provides moments of beauty and lifts the human spirit. Horses are created to run, and Barbaro ran superbly well. We turn to animals often for beauty, grace, and benignity, especially when our own species fails so dreadfully in those capacities--as it often does.

So, we are as saddened at the euthanasia of Barbaro as we are at the death of fellow humans who have brought some character and nobility to their lives.

Then we think of the execution of Saddam Hussein and the dementia of those who taunted him at his moment of death. Mark Twain noted that no species has the capacity for persistent, willful malevolence as "the damned human race." The putting down of Barbaro was an act of mercy. The hanging of Saddam Hussein was an act of perverse vengeance. It is a reminder that death penalties seldom serve justice; they serve perverse human motives that other animals do not possess. Some days one wishes it were possible to resign from the human race.

And now we turn to another abortion ban and the deranged ravings of those who insist that pro-choice people are baby killers. South Dakota legislative District 3 plays a large role in the proposed new ban as father-and-son representatives Al and David Novstrup assume a leadership role in pushing for the legislation. What is remarkable in looking at the comments in support of the new ban on various blogs is the sheer, perverse malevolence of its supporters. While they grow dementedly sanctimonious about zygotes, they hate the living with a disturbing passion. Their words make clear that they could not care less about human life. Their obsession is with making other humans bend to their will.

Al Novstrup speaks often in behalf of business interests and the threat that employees who have equity in the economy and, therefore, choice pose against businesses. He is an advocate of the "right to work." In South Dakota, when employees step into their places of employment, they step back into a feudal state in which they have no equality, no status as enfranchised human beings, and no rights. "Right to work" does not apply to employees. It applies to the employers' right to exercise their "at will" rights to manage and fire employees without any regard for human status or any accountability for what they do--in other words, their "right to work" employees anyway they damned please. When the preponderance of those who call themselves "right-to-life" are also "right-to-work," it becomes obvious that human life and possibility means little to them. They merely want the right to impose their will on others. This is fascism just as Mussolini conceived it.

The anti-choice people are getting noisy again, and we have to listen to their shouts of "baby-killer" and other idiocies they chant in their quest to enslave other humans to their totalitarian doctrine.

Maybe we'll just sit this one out and instead take a spin or two with Barbaro around the track of human imagination and aspiration.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States