By Rod Miller, columnist
My amigo, Dave Dodson, in a recent column that he wrote reminded me of one of my favorite Sam Rayburn quotes. Rayburn was Speaker of the House during a turbulent time in our history, and he was a plain-spoken Texan.
Rayburn said, “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.”
The jackasses in Wyoming – and in the nation, for that matter – are hell-bent on kicking down the barn. They are behaving like they’re on a locoweed binge and the grownups have left the room.
This frenzied phenomenon of attacking the basic institutions of civilized society for political gains is nothing new. The Greek writer, Pindar, wrote 2000 years ago that, “Even for the feeble it is an easy thing to shake a city to its foundation, but it is a sore struggle to set it in place again.”
This urge to destroy what sustains us isn’t confined to just one side of the political spectrum. Jackasses on both the right and the left have overdosed on locoweed and are mindlessly trying to kick down the barn.
The motive for this goofiness isn’t that difficult to identify. Zealots on both sides are trying to hijack democratic institutions that were established over centuries for our common good, in order to turn them into tools for their own neurotic brand of zealotry.
If they can control these institutions, they will then control us.
When American cities are trashed and burned by Marxist idiots, and the lives of police and firemen jeopardized by frenzied looters, it is the work of jackasses, not carpenters.
And when coddled citizens rebel against society because they are not addressed by their correct pronouns, or feel slighted in some other manner by government or business, they resort to threats of cancellation as a means of redress. These are not carpenters.
January 6 was the Feast of the Jackasses when the cornerstone of our republic, every citizen’s right to self-determination through voting, was attacked by a horde of non-carpenters just because their guy lost an election.
Every attack on our education system, driven by zealots whose skivvies are in a wad because they object to curricula or subject matter, is the kick of a jackass against a pillar of our republic.
Every threat to fine, defund or close a public library in America simply because books are made available that contain information that jackasses would prefer not to be public is another kick against the foundation of our country.
Even the millenia-old institution of religion, often the last refuge of people in turmoil, is being attacked for not weighing in on the culture war. If the jackasses can seize the pulpit, they can establish themselves as a tax-exempt Super Pac that doesn’t even answer to God.
Consider for a moment how our country would look if the jackasses prevail in their orgy of destruction.
With the edifices of our society torn down, and our touchstones removed, we would all find ourselves alone without a barn to shelter us. At that point, it wouldn’t matter what we want for ourselves or our loved ones.
We would be nothing more than serfs to the jackasses and to whatever orthodoxy they espouse. And it would take a long, long time to rebuild what we have now.
That’s why, in the playoff between the jackasses and the carpenters, I’m rooting for the carpenters. Jackasses are good at tearing stuff down, they are noisy and get a lot of headlines. But carpenters build quietly and carefully.
After all, a carpenter’s motto is, “Measure twice. Cut once.”