Three summers ago, upon repeatedly donning the gardener’s equivalent of a Hazmat Suit, I sweltered through the entire season eradicating the poison ivy / sumac / oak, which had been thriving all along my backyard, chain-link fence. FYI, at times, some of these plants had attained the height and trunk width of small trees. I suspect perching birds had been culpable for originally sowing the seeds of my discontent.
My game plan also included the prevention of regrowth and new implantation, respectively, requiring my thoroughly digging up the complex, extensive root systems and carefully containing the (literal) thousands of seeds that were all ready and raring to rain down upon the fertile soil.
Had I not acted when I did, these plants could’ve easily overtaken (overthrown) my entire little corner of the world.
In the years leading up to this reclamation project, I’d have rated myself as a grade-F groundskeeper. I had excessively exploited that old motto, “leaves of three let it be” as my poor excuse for not dealing decisively and expeditiously with the problem at hand. Had I done so, early on, when everything had been at a far more manageable stage, I could’ve quickly nipped the entire problem in the bud.
SIDEBAR: My reluctance stemmed out of fear, as well. You see, decades earlier I had suffered from a (figurative and literal) brush with such plants… resulting in a severe case of contact dermatitis, which required extensive recuperation time.
But, I am happy to report my yard work, report card’s GPA has improved, dramatically, since. Phrases like, “learn from your mistakes” and “live and learn” do sum up the transformation to my new proactive attitude.
So why bring up my true, garden-variety tale?
Because this story serves well as a metaphor.
You see, the nasty seeds of poison ivy, sumac and oak are akin to the ugly seeds of intolerance… those that grow and branch off into a multitude of deplorable directions… e.g., discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, infirmity, disability, religious beliefs and economic class.
Once planted in society, these deeply rooted, reprehensible, mind-warping ideas grow, and become intertwining vines. Their poisonous effects get under the skin to irritate unfortunate individuals… and, eventually… spread to asphyxiate an entire nation’s sense of equality, freedom and happiness.
Dealing proactively and positively to end discrimination, however it manifests itself, requires an expert groundskeeper… and most assuredly, the current, un-american [sic], so-called prez does not possess such qualities.
Worse yet… while I was able to mend my errant ways… it would appear he cannot. In fact, it’s doubtful that he’s even aware he’s nearly always wrong about nearly everything.
Each time that grade-F groundskeeper hesitates to expeditiously and unequivocally nip societal irritants in the bud… be that out of neglect… be that out of his fear of reprisal (e.g., from mental vegetable Nazis and Klansmen)… be that out of his opportunistic desire to save his own political skin… the result is the same.
The longer such “vegetation” is allowed grow the more it thrives, threatens and proliferates… the more the chances grow that a scum of the earth entity will rise up to overthrow the entire world.
And were such a story to ever hit our world history books, it certainly would be no garden-variety tale!