The Ant Farm

Repugnant-cons have been like an ant farm; all the worker ants walking up and down the line like good obedient mindless worker ants carrying out the orders of the high priest ant Fox (and Limbaugh and Rove but that carries my analogy too far afield) with the soldier ants keeping them in line. Obama’s election was like a giant shoe stepping on the entrance to the ant farm and sending all the little mindless worker ants scurrying around in confusion and panic. They’ve lost their Red Queen Ant and are desperately searching for her. Mitt Romney called out “Hey, I’m over here.”  Michele Bachmann shouted from her corner “No, I’m over here—and I’m female.” Rick Perry drawled “I’m the Queen that’s kept y’all all employed.” Ron Paul squeaked “If I were your queen you wouldn’t have to obey anything I ordered you to do.” Rick Santorum firmly stated “I am NOT a queen but I sure like being surrounded by all these soldier ants.” Newt Gingrich spread his feelers in an all-encompassing gesture and proclaimed “I am not the queen of this ant farm—I AM the ant farm!” There were other pretenders to the throne who quickly devoured themselves before they could claim much of anything.

ut the ants could tell by the smell of each pretender to the throne that none of the queen ant candidates were the actual queen. But they dimly recalled that though they were a colony of red ants, their Queen Ant was black. They then remembered that the fear of an ant queen a different color from them had caused them all to panic.  They were afraid that there panic had carried them so far away they would never find their way home since there was no one to lead the way. They kept running from queen ant pretender to queen ant pretender but none of them smelled right. The ants as a group crystallized this single thought: “We’re on our own.”

They then heard voices shouting to them from the entrance to the ant farm. It was a small group of black ants calling to them “Hey—what the hell you doing out there? All the work’s in here, guys!” The red ant who was closest to the pack of black ants said, “Are you kidding? You’re black ants. You’re smaller than us and you don’t sting. You’re wimps.” The leader of the black ants replied, “Oh yeah? There are more of us than you. Besides, we’ve been stung for years; it doesn’t affect us anymore. But why are we even arguing—we’re all ants!”

The red ant thought for several minutes while digesting what he had just heard. “So,” he finally said, “what’s your point?”

The black ant, knowing the dim brain power of the red ant he was dealing with, sighed heavily and replied, “We should join forces. Look, our queen ant is one of us but not really one of us, if you know what I mean.”

The red ant smiled knowingly and nodded his head and said, “No, no I don’t.”

The black ant sighed even harder and tried again. “OK, try to stay with me. Here we all are walking back and forth in a straight line all day long every day every week for our entire lives, carrying food to the latest queen who then has a crapload of kids and one of them becomes the new queen. None of us ever gets to become queen. In fact, we never get anything out of anything we do all day long every day every week for our entire lives. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?”

The black ant could see a flicker of understanding in the twitch of the red ant’s antennae so he pushed forward. “We heard all those jokers out there claiming to be queen—we could smell them from here. Like it or not, one of our guys is queen but he’s only got another four years to go till one of his kids takes over.  What we’re saying is this: we join forces—there’s strength in numbers, my friend. Before the kid mounts the throne, we grab the big chair and WE run the ant farm for once. And for once—we ALL share in the spoils and fruits of our labor! We should walk wherever we want to. No more straight lines.”

“We run it together, you mean?” asked the red ant.

“Not so much ‘we” as ‘me’. Look, I’m a black ant who can think logically and plan a peaceful revolution. Anyone on your side able to do that?” asked the black ant.

The red ant looked confused. “What does ‘think’ mean?”

“Forget about it before you hurt yourself.” The black ant looked at the red horde gathered in front of his small group, smiled and called out, “So are you all with us? Are you ready to take our ant farm back?”

A red ant in the middle of the horde shouted out, “We don’t know. Where’s Fox? He would tell us what to do.”

The black ant, thinking quickly, shouted out, “I’m Fox. That’s me—Fox. And I say listen to that black ant. He’s never steered you wrong before!”

The red ants all murmured among themselves in agreement.  The black ant then rose up on his four hind legs and after a suitably dramatic pause, waved a top leg and shouted, “C’mon, men!”

“And women,” said a female red ant.

“And women!” the black ant called. “We’ll lay a pheromone trail that you can follow back to the sugar mines. And repeat after me: no more straight lines!”

All the red ants gathered together; their non-battle cry lifting as one great voice into the air and hovering above them.  “No more straight lines!” they cheered as they marched back into the ant farm in single file. And four years later everything the black ant said came true exactly as he had predicted.  Except for one thing.

When the throne was taken from the new black queen ant, the black ant leader suffered a hernia helping to move it to its new home at the Western Ant Farm. Being too injured to rule, his wife took his place on the throne. And so Queen Elizabeth became the first truly female queen ant to rule the newly-liberated ant farm. She had a good sense of humor but could never tell a joke. Now that ants were free to walk anywhere they wanted, no one could hand her a straight line.