In Aesop fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper a grasshopper spends the warm months singing and idling while the ant worked hard to store up food for long, cold winter. When winter arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger, and upon asking the ant for food and shelter, is rejected and castigated for its idleness and sloth. Soon the grasshopper dies of cold and hunger.
The story was once used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of laziness and improvidence.
That, of course, was a story for a vastly different age. Now such a parable would be derided as an example of greed and the ant would be cast as the villain. Yet, even so, The Ant and the Grasshopper can be recast in a modern light:
The Ant and the Grasshopper: A Parable For Today
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC , PBS, NPR, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’
ACORN busses in hundreds of angry protesters and stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, ‘We Shall Overcome.’
Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper’s sake, demanding that they must kill any God that did not damn this ant.
President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share. Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act, making it retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, rumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.
The entire Nation collapses bringing down the rest of the free world with it, and in some dark, but suddenly nearer Hell Pazuzu smiles.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be careful how you vote in 2010 and 2012.
Sadly, we’ve degenerated very far since the time of that 7th Century BC Thracian Fabulist, Aesop became famous across the ancient world as the preeminent teller of fables. Now the Ant would be cast as the rapacious, selfish, capitalist and the Grasshopper as an oppressed minority or an example of “The Ant’s Burden.” 😉