21 June 2011
Justice for all
The squirrels could use a couple of good lawyers.
They are regularly indicted in the headlines. "Squirrels Turn off the Lights in Centralia," "Power outage closes Richmond's Manchester courthouse," and "Bethesda Power Outage blamed on Squirrel," all real-life news stories about the unfortunate consequences of powerful incisors having met their match with the local utility company.
If that were not enough, the squirrels are regularly defamed and blamed by gardeners, who deploy everything from squirrel-proof bird-feeders to squirrel-resistant barriers for protection and preservation of their flowers and veggies. Otherwise mild-mannered, gentle nature-loving folks resort to viciously spiking their millet, sunflower or thistle seed with hot pepper as a deterrent.
And even when a kindly motorist veers to avoid hitting a squirrel crossing the road and lands in a ditch - it is the squirrel who is blamed.
"Innocent until proven guilty" apparently doesn't apply when the citizenry flicks its tail and chatters its teeth.
And still, squirrels are seen as more culpable than members of congress who, without benefit or modest cloak of fur, have lately seen fit to post their various body parts on the Internet, or to chat up underage constituents online.
Where is justice? Where is the squirrels' Bill of Rights?
Well, for one thing, squirrels don't vote.
They don't even pay taxes.
And sure, once accused of thievery or worse, they often bury the evidence too deeply to ever be unearthed by any subpoena. Then they stamp their feet in the face of constitutionality.
As July 4 approaches, however, we should consider celebrating just that spirit of unfettered independence, the kind that gave birth to our own nation in the 18th century. Surely we don't want the squirrels to secede, to draw a line in the sand, or to move elsewhere.
Imagine having no squirrels around. There'd be no one left to blame for thievery, for power outages and for crop failures.
In the end, we'd have no one else to blame - no one but ourselves.