Can our conjoined democracy be separated and survive?
Chang and Eng Bunker.
A two-headed western rat snake is back in a pit at a Waco, Texas, zoo after recovering from an injury that most likely was caused by an argument between its two brains. The unusual snake with brains labeled Pancho and Lefty was discovered in 2016 by a family in its backyard.
Now eight years old, the three-foot snake is a victim of bicephaly, the same condition that can cause conjoined twins in humans. Think of the Siamese twins Chang and Eng, who were conjoined at the waist by a tubular section of flesh, shared a liver, spent their entire life conjoined – and part of their life married with children. In modern times they could have been easily separated.
I was struck by an analysis by the head zookeeper Maddie-Michels-Boyce of the snake’s brains: “The right brain (Pancho) is much more dominant and tends to control where they go. The left brain (Lefty) is seemingly just along for the ride.” But they evidently suffered an injury arguing about where they were going while crossing branches and large rocks in their home. It took them two years to recover and move back to the zoo pit. I think you can guess where I’m going with this. Pancho is a Trumplican and Lefty is a Democrat!
Conjoined twins happen in about one in 200,000 births, half are stillborn, an additional one-third die within 24 hours, and, for some reason yet undetermined, most live births are female. Any parts of bodies can be attached or melded together in almost any form. In 28% of the cases, the two bodies are fused from the upper chest to the lower chest and share a heart, other organs, and part of the digestive system.
So far, of twins who share a heart, only one survives separation. Perhaps the most unusual conjoined occurs when two bodies have one head but two faces on opposite sides of the head – and, possibly with four ears. Pregnancy should be listed as hazardous to the health of the mother because 20% of dependent fetuses never get a chance to breathe life because of miscarriages, growth abnormalities, and the 4% who require complex surgeries in utero to survive.
And keeping a democracy is as difficult as having and raising conjoined twins
Of the eight Republican candidates who showed up for the first Trumplican debate, clearly Snow White Nikki Haley was the winner against Grumpy DeSantis, Bashful Scott, Dopey Ramaswamy, Doc Christie, Sleepy Hutchinson, Happy Burgum and Sneezy Pence.
Contrary to what Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in the 19th century, a few women such as Haley have cracked the skylights put up by the Asian and American Talibans – the Muslims, Catholics, and fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. Recognized as the “Patron Saint of Uppity Women,” Stanton wrote about the effects of religion on women: “You, may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded women. There is not one which has not made her subject to man. Man of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, ‘Thus saith the Lord’, of course, he can do it. As long as ministers stand up and tell us that as Christ is head of the church, so is man the head of the woman, how are they to break the chains which have held women down through the ages?”
Well, the chains have not been broken yet – but a few links are getting very rusty.
As only about 25% of conjoined twins survive birth, of which about 70% are female, conjoined twins are forced to get along somehow, although the brains might be very different. But our two political parties today are like the western rat snake with very different Pancho and Lefty brains.
They wanted to go different directions and got hurt as our political parties, one democratic and one authoritarian, want to go different directions. The two don’t seem to realize that when conjoined to serve society they must debate, compromise and vote to save the country.
In 2023 we have five common types of conjoined twins and 11 types of uncommon which would take many pages to adequately describe. Let us just say that the womb can be a very dangerous place to start a life where just breathing air can be called a good start. We are not perfectly designed. On January 6, 2021, our capitol building was also a very dangerous place for Panchos and Leftys.
Homo sapiens in the Elizabethan Chain of Being are in third place
In the Elizabethan Chain of Being developed by Christians in the 17th century, God is on top, angels are second and humans are in third place, with the rest of creation below them in an order of sorts. In the 20th Century, the Satanic Bible was published to counter the Christian Bible – and have some fun doing it.
The Christian Bible has Ten Commandments while Satan’s Bible has Nine Statements to counter. The Seventh Statement describes man: “Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all fours, who, because of his ‘divine spiritual and intellectual development,’ has become the most vicious animal of all!”
The Ninth Statement sums up Satan’s role: “Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!”
Before discussing whether we are going to have a fascist or democratic government, I would pose a few questions. If conjoined twins have two heads, does each head have a vote? If conjoined twins have one head, do they just get one vote? If conjoined twins have two heads on one body does each head get to vote? Voting often calls for a secret ballot. How do conjoined twins with two heads cast secret ballots? What if heads on conjoined twins face opposite directions? What if one head is progressive and the other one fascist? Let’s remember that the western rat snake is way down in the order of any chain of being, yet Pancho in the conjoined snake was dominant while Lefty was subservient.
After all, God works in mysterious ways. Would the 50 states have the same answer?
The following statement may have a familiar ring if you know history
“A Congress divided against itself can’t act to provide good government. I believe the Divided States of America cannot last, permanently half democratic and half fascist. If it does not act, the Union will be dissolved—I do not expect the Congress to survive—there’s no chance that it will end up being democratic if a Trumplican is elected president in 2024.”
Thank you, Mr. Lincoln, for providing the framework for this statement.
I hope that a majority of Americans would know where the statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident” comes from. I assume that only a small number would know which document contains the following: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to demolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”
Mr. Jefferson was giving Americans sound advice in his Declaration of Independence. Do we need a new government? No, but we need Congresspersons who ask: “What do we need?” rather than “What do I want?”
We have a conjoined country with two heads. We have one head with a Lefty brain that thinks common good is the goal. The other head with a Pancho brain has only one goal: Power over every citizen and local government.
Congress should study the life of Chang and Eng so it understands the importance of debate and compromise. Saved at birth by a mother who unwound the single umbilical cord at the right time, they lived to be 62 years-old after marrying two understanding and loving sisters when they were 32. They fathered 21 children. They became wealthy being viewed as monstrosities in carnivals and exhibition halls, and died owning homes, farms and 50 Black slaves in North Carolina.
As conjoined twins, they knew they had to get along, even if Chang loved to be dominant – and Eng never spoke out of turn. They also knew that when one died so would the other. Congress could learn a great deal about bipartisan politics from them. Congress could save a democracy that is dying from economic inequality, greed, and stupidity.
What might a new conjoined United States of America look like?
The Republican Party with the Pancho brain would cease to be anti-climate change, anti-Black Lives Matter, White supremacists, anti-affirmative action, anti-universal health care, anti-science, anti-union, anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare and Medicaid, anti-SNAP and WIC, anti-abortion, anti-LBGTQIA+, anti-transgender, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-women, anti-taxes, anti-parental leave, anti-vaccines, anti-education, anti-books, pro-tax havens and loopholes, anti-librarians and a thousand other issues that would serve the common good. The best spokesperson for the Democratic Party with the Lefty brain is Senator Bernie Sanders, who has studied the effects of capitalism, socialism and fascism in America for many years. He is a much better communicator of Democratic policies, issues and platforms than Joe Biden. In a 2010 Senate speech he referred to wars: “There is a war going on in this country. I am not referring to the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan. I am talking about a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people against working families, against the disappearing middle class of our country.”
Although they are the same age, Bernie is much younger in spirit and knowledge than Biden. He outlined the problems of the Divided States of America in a speech last week to the UNI Global Union World Congress in one short paragraph: “At a time of unprecedented income and wealth inequality, while the billionaire and the 1 percent are doing better than at any time in American history, over 60 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, while many work for starvation wages and under terrible working conditions.”
In order to retain a democratic government, we must have two working political parties conjoined by philosophy and location. They must realize that if Lefty dies so does Pancho. Economic inequality always leads to political inequality. FDR and the New Deal created a strong middle class but then Ronald Reagan’s “What do I want?” policies changed the Democratic Party’s “What do we need?” policies. “One person, one vote” changed to “one dollar, one vote.”
A Republican Supreme Court opened the tsunami of cash flowing from billionaires to buy fascist power. They bought a political party that has favored the rich instead of the poor, created an Ivy League educational system that favors the already privileged, gave corporations the rights of individuals instead of taxing them for the common good, and created a “free” market that put a price on everything – including government.