Dances with Hyenas

When you consider how much physical property North America’s colonizers stole from indigenous peoples (i.e., all of it), it’s not surprising that we also went for the IP.

Like the twelve names for the full moon as the Earth makes its way around the sun every year. Even Europeans, who have an ample supply of Druid-era terminology to draw from, use these names.

January’s Wolf Moon got its name because many tribes noticed the animals being particularly active at this time. The Sioux called it the “wolves run together” moon. In New York City, this moon was gloriously visible on January 6, capping off four days of discord and animus among House Republicans.

All week, their newly configured pack spread itself across one side of the House Chamber—most of them C-SPAN-ready, some bathroom-mirror experts at lip-synching agency. They came dolled up in suits, George Santos in his best Horace Mann prep, sitting alone while picking his nose. Look how well they pretend to be doing something real! Watch them attempt a huddle! The frown-lined concern on the face of MTG is one for the ages, like a cardiovascular surgeon asking the team: “Should we go in?”

But then, “Don’t let the church duds fool you” is something I’d never have to say—mainly because this pack doesn’t set foot in a church but also because their huddles have the intellectual substance of a pickup beer party in the far corner of an Auto Zone parking lot.

Their pack now contains several layers of despicable we. First came the classic financial plunderer. Then the lib-hating flamethrower. Next up the lib-hating flamethrower/grifter. Now it’s the lib-hating flamethrower/grifter/fame-seeker. What ties them all together is the fact that each has sought and won a job in public service solely for the purpose of personal gain.

They have devolved to pure theater—cheap theater, the toughest vaudeville in the Bowery where the acts compete to the death for top billing. Whenever one of them took the podium for a nomination, you could imagine them running backstage to ransack the prop trunk: Yes, this—THIS—is what I need! The crown to do Lear, the skull to do Hamlet, the straw boater for Caruso!

It’s interesting that ever since Sandy Hook, the far right has accused those who’ve been murdered in a mass shooting or have survived one as being “actors.” They predated Trump in this brazen tactic of charging your opposition with the very offense you yourself are actively committing. Performance and self-aggrandizement are a given with agents of sabotage, corruption, extortion, chaos and degradation—people an inch away from going full Joker.

About six hours after the EST full moon when “wolves run together,” Kevin McCarthy, on the 15th ballot, finally got the votes to become Speaker.

It often feels like the easiest thing for us to do as humans is isolate ourselves from the natural world. Even with climate change breathing down our necks, we feel we can bend nature to our will. We build cities on swamps, water lawns in the desert, mess with cotton to get it to bloom all year.

But the moon when it is full draws the ocean to it through its gravitational pull; water flows highest when the moon is directly overhead. It is reliably there on a regular cycle, but it also exerts power. It reminds us that in a universe that touches on infinity, we are time-bound animals characterized by the things we do in packs.

Any transition can be seen as a beginning or an end. You’d think it would be the time of beginnings for House Republicans, but no. It’s a time of endings. Not just of respect for democracy and service to the public, but of simply being able to agree with the people who supposedly share you own vile ideas.

Wolves may run together in January, but not this Republican Congress. These budding Jokers skulk apart like a bunch of hyenas, grins from ear to ear—laughing louder and louder at the fate of the libs they profess to own, and at this chump thing called a functioning society. §