The boiled frog story was huge at the yellow brick church on 27th Street in Ogden, Utah. The Sawyer kids entered dutifully during the 1950’s, but without parents. Others had moms and dads accompanying them. I felt unsupported, trying to figure out how the world worked; how I should act within it.
There were important stories taught over and over. Everyone needed to know these if they expected to thrive, I was told. One was about survival in the face of bedlam; about how to “not get boiled” in the game of life.
Don’t try this at home of course, although your family’s cat might find it amusing. As for your nosy neighbors, they might report you for violating animal cruelty statutes.
Start with a live frog. If you toss it straight into very hot water, it’ll jump out immediately, then land on your kitchen floor, so the narrative goes. This is where the family cat becomes animated.
But if you start your frog in cold water instead, then turn up the heat gradually, he’ll stay put. The point is this: your frog won’t perceive impending doom until too late.
So what’s the “deep moral” here? Surely adults at the yellow brick church had something in mind when they subjected little kids to such gruesome stories.
Before going into that territory however, consider this. The 1950’s were days of J. Edgar Hoover and conservative vigilance about the so-called communist menace. Ogden’s Mormon kids received Hoover-type indoctrination, incessantly. Commies laid in wait to destroy America’s youth, we were told; to drag us into a perilous moral abyss.
So, that’s the moral. Humans respond to immediate threats by jumping out of the proverbial boiling pot. If the threat level rises gradually rather than abruptly however, then humanoids are likely to be fooled, conned, boiled alive metaphorically, or worse.
Actually, the language I remember from the yellow brick church was this. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into something the elders called “carnal security.”
This brings us to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Ronna McDaniel. She’s the niece of Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Actually I wonder if Mitt and Ronna’s childhoods were also loaded with double-doses of boiled frog mythology? Anyway, according to RNC’s Chairwoman, all of us should avoid creeping socialism; should avoid becoming …er…boiled socialist frogs.
Republicans lost suburban women in 2018, hugely. McDaniel’s job? She’s supposed to win them back. So the RNC Chair is plugging the creeping socialism narrative. See her language, below.
In politically conservative Orange County, all four Republican House seats were flipped to Democratic House seats in the midterm election. Essentially, the RNC Chair is warning wives and mothers, suburban business and professional women, not to let 2018 election results stand; to not become boiled frogs.
Especially, Ronna McDaniel is admonishing women to choose self-interest over the collective good. She’s warning if they vote Democratic in 2020, Obamacare-type policies will rise once again. If suburban women continue to back Democrats, they’ll be forced to give up precious time she says, to stand in longer lines to get necessary medical care for their kids.
How will you vote in the upcoming presidential election? Will it be a vote for self-interest narrowly defined, as Ronna McDaniel suggests? Or perhaps, your ballot choices will be undergirded by a faithful vision that is this. In some grander sense as Americans, we’re all in this together.
Ronna Romney McDaniel: “The debate that’s going to play out in suburbs across the country is a choice between capitalism versus socialism,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “When Democrats talk about abolishing private health insurance, for example, most of my friends are on private insurance plans through their jobs or their husbands’ jobs. They don’t want to lose that. They don’t want to wait in line to get to the pediatrician.”
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Washington Post: McConnell’s Strategy is Running against Socialism
NYT: With Polls and Private Meetings, Republicans Craft Blunt Messaging to Paint Democrats as Extreme
Washington Post: A ‘democratic socialist’ agenda is appealing. No wonder Trump attacks it.