I can best explain my concern
about the new congress's agenda, by using this analogy
given to me by a former student of mine. Several years ago I was
supervising a beginning teacher in a city school system.
One day during our
end-of-the-day feedback conference, the young man gave a facial
grimace and began to rub his back. I asked him if he had
strained his back in the school lab.
After a long period of silence,
he sat down at his desk and explained that he had immigrated to
the United States because of political problems in his native
country. The discomfort in his back was caused by a bullet wound
he had received while fighting the Communists who were trying to
take over his country's government. He was then a member of the
underground nationalist force.
Then he asked me a surprising
question: "Dr. Hedges, do you know how to catch a wild
hog?" The question was completely out of context regarding
the day's classroom and lab teaching. I replied, "I'm not
sure what you are talking about. Tell me."
"First," he said,
"you find out where the wild hogs are roaming and feeding
and then you put some corn out in the field. Soon they will come
to eat the corn. You keep putting out the free corn. More wild
hogs keep coming to eat the corn."
"So what?" I said.
"That's normal for any animal."
"Be patient. I will tell you
what comes next," he said. "After the hogs get used to
your free corn, you put up a length of fence along one side of
the feeding area. The hogs get used to it. You keep giving them
the corn. Then you put up another section of fence at right
angles to the first. You keep giving them the corn. The hogs get
used to the second fence. Then you put up another length of
fence at right angles to the second section. You now have a
U-shaped fenced area. The hogs get used to that section of the
You keep giving them free corn.
Then you put another section of fence with a gate in it, making
a closed area except for the gate. You keep giving them corn.
Now, the hogs no longer are out in the fields, working to find
their own food. They keep coming into the area to eat the free
corn. They get used to the fenced area with the open gate. Then,
one day you slam shut the gate when the hogs are inside the
fenced area. The wild hogs are caught - they are your
I understood then that the wild
hogs were really the people of his native country and that the
free corn was the enticements that the Communists were giving to
"That's correct," the
young man said. "Now, the hogs will not get anything to eat
unless you give them food. You are in control. They depend on
you to feed them, or they will starve. They can't get out into
the fields and forests anymore to find their own food. They have
probably forgotten how, as it is. They are your servants, your
prisoners. They must obey you. Or else they starve.
"The hogs," he said,
"were so accustomed to having the free corn, that they
ignored the building of the fences that would eventually trap
them. When the gate slammed shut, it was too late for them to
realize what they had been blind to. The free corn was enticing,
so effortless to obtain, but eventually the cause of their loss
of freedom. The fence had been built; the gate had been
At this point in our
conversation, the young teacher, in a voice shaking with emotion
and with fists hitting the desktop, loudly exclaimed, "This
is what I see happening in America today! People are being
offered free corn by the government.
People are being blind to the
fences being built around them by the liberals - the socialists
- and that is what frightens me! Just like it was happening in
The American people do not learn
from history. And history shows that socialism/communism does
Take note of Russia. Has
socialism been the best thing that ever happened to that
country? Absolutely not! But socialism is what the American
people are being fed, and they don't realize it. All they can
focus on is the 'free corn.' They want more and more of the free
corn. And this free corn is being fed to us little by little,
and soon the gate will slam shut.
I am very frightened, and also
amazed, that the American people don't see what is being fed us,
and for what purpose."
With that said, the young man sat
down at his desk and continued to rub his painful back.
And I was silent in my chair.
For I could visualize the
supposedly "free corn" being fed to our nation's
people and our growing addiction to the "free corn".
And I could see the gate being slammed shut.
We, the people of the United
States of America, because of our ignorance of history, because
of our addiction to the supposedly "free corn," could
soon be prisoners of liberal socialism.
Along with this fighter for
freedom from socialism/communism, I too, wanted to slam my fists
on the desktop and cry out in a loud voice for all to hear,
"Wake up, America! The fences are being built! Don't you
see what is happening to us?"
In the agenda of the new Congress
governed by the liberal Democrats, there is much "free
corn" being promised the American people. In our greed for
this "free corn," will we ignore the incremental
building of the fences and the inevitable shutting of the gate?
As I ponder the building of the fences now underway by the new
Congress, I remember the old adage, there is always free cheese
in a mousetrap."
It seems the only thing we learn
from history is that we do not learn from history.
Hedges is a retired associate professor of teacher education and
a former superintendent of Elgin Local Schools