This morning I read an article about Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who recently came outside their mansion to brandish loaded guns at peacefully demonstrating Black Lives Matter activists who were marching by on a public street. They claim they needed to do this; they were defending their house. The current Republican Party leadership has elevated the McCloskeys to the status of martyrs. The couple spoke at the National Republican Party Convention broadcast on Monday night. Full disclosure: I did not watch their speech.
The article I read about them noted that their house is right next door to a Jewish synagogue, The Jewish Central Reform Congregation. Rabbi Susan Talve told reporters that the synagogue has a large community garden where they raise a few thousand pounds of food every year, which they donate to local food banks. In 2013, they decided to construct bee hives so they might have honey for their annual Rosh Hashanah celebration. Unfortunately and inadvertently, the bee hives were placed over the property line onto the McCloskeys’ property. So Mr. McCloskey took a sledge hammer to the hives one night, killing all the bees and smashing their dwellings to bits. Rabbi Talve said, “He could have called us. We would have moved the hives.” Then Mr. McCloskey (who is a lawyer) issued a notice to the synagogue that they needed to clean up the mess he’d made or he would sue them. What a swell guy.
I decided to share this here today because I feel this incident serves as a microcosm of something larger that has been touted by the Republican Party for decades: a fundamental misunderstanding of compromise and negotiation, a promotion of the zero sum game as the only way to govern. It didn’t start with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell but they are the apex we have reached. Mitch McConnell, in particular, has made it clear that he will destroy democracy to get his way. He refused to allow the Senate to hear bills he didn’t want passed. He refused to allow the Senate to fill appointments for years–years!–until he had a president from his own party making those appointments. Our democracy is our metaphorical bee hive, and the Republican Party has gleefully taken a sledge hammer to it. They are in the process of destroying our democratic institutions because–well, actually, I don’t know why. Maybe because they want the money and the power. Maybe because it gives them a thrill to humiliate (HUMILIATE) their opponents. Maybe because they are so emotionally stunted they don’t have the skills to govern any other way. I don’t know. What I am sure of is that they are dangerous people and they must be removed from office. As Michelle Obama warned, don’t think it can’t get worse. It can and it will. Maybe they haven’t killed YOUR bees yet, but they will. Eventually they will. Don’t wait and see. #VOTE
Thank you for reading.
I pray and affirm that our community, our nation, and our planet are safe places, where all creatures feel loved and supported, where our differences in perspective are respected, disagreements negotiated amicably, and peaceful resolution is the norm.
Here is a link to the article about the McCloskeys: https://www.insider.com/st-louis-couple-threatened-protesters-with-guns-made-children-cry-2020-7
Photo by Ilana Grostern
6 thoughts on “Protecting Our Hives”
Marvelous piece. Sad to say, many hives have burned in the awful fire in the Vacaville and northeast fire, queen bee hives.
So sad, June. I’m also very concerned about the California Condor chicks they’ve been monitoring. Several are missing. Thanks for reading and liking my piece.
I have been a lot about the truth and reconciliation commissions set up in South Africa when apartheid ended. I feel that this country needs something similar when this nightmare is over. We need to learn to listen to each other and learn to communicate rather than smashing hives.
I have been thinking the same thing, Annette! Thanks for weighing in.
The message isn’t about bees and condors, it’s about our democracy and that it’s being attacked by the Republican party. It’s about the potential death of our country as previously known. It’s about voting.
Thanks for reinforcing my “hive” metaphor, Dave. I do want to mention though, that because of Republican denial of the scientific evidence of climate change, actual bees are deeply threatened. And since we depend on bees to pollinate our crops, their destruction threatens our lives as well. Everything is connected.