Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Lesson from Bees...

In her column in Thursday’s NYTimes, "Lame Ducks Gone Mad," [Here] Gail Collins nailed the crazy mood that seems to exist thoughout our country right now.  Of course, the epicenter of the current American insanity is our nation’s capital, led by our elected officials, one of whom--our President-- has spent weeks trying to figure out how many ways he can parse the word bipartisanship.  
Gail Collins referred to a fascinating piece that was in the NYTimes earlier in the week, titled “The Mystery of the Red Bees of Red Hook.”  Here 1s the story:
Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees.  She had raised them right, given them all the best opportunities — acres of urban farmland strewn with fruits and vegetables, a bounty of natural nectar and pollen. Blinded by devotion, she assumed they shared her values: a fidelity to the land, to food sources free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring.
And then this. Her bees, the ones she had been raising in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and on Governors Island since May, started coming home to their hives looking suspicious. Of course, it was the foragers — the adventurers, the wild waggle dancers, the social networkers incessantly buzzing about their business — who were showing up with mysterious stripes of color. Where there should have been a touch of gentle amber showing through the membrane of their honey stomachs was instead a garish bright red. The honeycombs, too, were an alarming shade of Robitussin.
An acquaintance, only joking, suggested the unthinkable: Maybe the bees were hitting the juice — maraschino cherry juice, that sweet, sticky stuff sloshing around vats at Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company over on Dikeman Street in Red Hook.
And sure enough.  After investigation, it was discovered that those bees were taking the easy way out and getting their sugar directly from the sweet cherry factory, but, as always happens, there was a price to pay.  In this case, it was “an alarming shade of Robitussin.”
As Collins noted, there MUST be a deep lesson here for the boys and girls down in Washington.  Should we put the color of Robitussin on earmarks?  What about color tagging every penny that millionaires will save if their GOP Bush tax exemption continues?
That NY Times article also quoted Andrew Coté, the leader of the New York Beekeepers Association, as saying that “Bees will forage from any sweet liquid in their flight path for up to three miles.”  Hmm.  The similarity with politicians is obvious, except that politicians will travel much, much farther, following even the tiniest wiff or hint of money.

Maybe politicians are a new (and lower) life form.  They are certainly presenting us with a new (and lower) form of democracy...


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