ALMOST SIX YEARS ago, as we were approaching the mid-term elections, I spent a beautiful Saturday autumn morning watching the Howard University homecoming parade not too far from where I lived in Washington.
Among the many participants were about a dozen horse riders, in cowboy attire, bringing up the rear. Most of them were African-American, but a couple of them were white, and there was one Latino. They seemed a bit out of place – a stark contrast to the souped up cars and motorcycles that preceded them – but they were having a great time, and the kids along the parade route loved them.
As I was walking home after the parade, I noticed one of the cowboys walking on the street, talking on his cell phone. His compadres were nowhere to be seen and I assumed that he was probably on his way to join them, wherever they were.
Hardly anybody paid any attention to him, until a street person started walking next to him and yelling, at the top of his lungs, “You lost your horse! You lost your horse!”
They cowboy paid him no mind and kept on talking on the phone. How he could hear the conversation is beyond me as the street person kept screaming, “You lost your horse! You lost your horse!”
Finally, the cowboy could take it no longer. He put his cell phone on his chest, turned to the street person and said, “Yeah man, I lost my damn horse.”
That did it. That’s all the street person needed to leave him alone, turn around and head back the other way. And the cowboy returned to his phone conversation and continued on his way.
AS WE APPROACH another big November rodeo, I can’t help thinking that there is probably no better description for our national situation: We’ve lost our damn horse!
Worse, the most foolish rodeo clown that has ever existed is trying to lead the parade.
[Disclosure: I recycled this from my old blog, http://www.puckintheface.wordpress.com]