This story made the rounds earlier in the week: after the 9/11 terror attacks the Bush administration directed the State Department to prepare magazines about American life and culture for distribution in Arab countries.  During a meeting to review a draft photo-essay for the magazine, a high-level State Department political appointee rejected a photo of pack mules at the Grand Canyon.  This has to go, she said.  Too pro-Democrat.

You see, a mule looks like a donkey, and the donkey is the symbol of the Democratic Party.  Most of you are probably thinking this couldn’t possibly have happened, at least not for such a silly reason.  But I have good reason to believe it did happen, and for just that silly a reason.  I’ll tell you why:

In the late 1980s my father, who was then the commander of the American Legion post in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, discovered that contrary to popular belief the mule was not Missouri’s state animal.  Everyone assumed it was, but not so.   The mule had been nominated many times over the years, but Republicans in the state legislature had always blocked it.  Why?  According to my father, Republican Missouri politicians told him it was out of the question because people might confuse mules with donkeys, to the benefit of Democrats.  That was the only reason, and the politicians my Dad talked with weren’t shy about coming right out and saying so.

My dad — who mostly voted Republican — set out on a multi-year campaign to overcome parochial party resistance and make the Missouri mule the state animal.  He organized other American Legion posts in Missouri, spoke at public meetings around the state, wrote letters and collected petitions, addressed legislators and governors, and eventually — in 1995 — was the guest of honor as then-Governor Carnahan signed the law that made the Missouri mule the state animal.  My dad did that — what a man!

Dad’s experience points out that this small-minded stuff has been going on for a long time, and unless I’m greatly mistaken, almost always on the Republican side.  It’s all of a piece with Republicans twisting the language to come up with “the Democrat party,” going after voter registration and rights organizations like ACORN (because they help black people, who tend to register as Democrats), systematically replacing Democrats with Republicans at all levels of government, and suppressing photos of the melting Arctic ice cap because they might advance a climate change message more associated with Democrats than Republicans.

Two weeks ago my grandson and I checked out a Babar book at the library.  I oppose just about everything the Republican party stands for, but Babar’s cool.  When I see elephants I don’t think about party politics.  Do you?

Do Republicans run around with scissors cutting all the pictures of Eeyore out of Winnie the Pooh books?  God, maybe they do!

What the hell is wrong with Republicans?  I mean, seriously.

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