Americans are on a journey to see the elephant.
The trip won’t be smooth. No. But we know what happens next determines the fate of the world’s greatest economy and her democracy.
You may have never heard the term “seeing the elephant.” It’s a 19th-century phrase that doesn’t find its way onto many tongues these days.
And if we do our job… it will.
To understand what the term means and why it’s such a worthy idea these days, we need to look at one of the greatest and most important battles in the history of our nation.
It’s happening right now… in Ohio… South Dakota… Alaska… South Carolina… and several other states.
Downtown Atlanta, though, is where the cannons are booming the loudest.
Earlier this week Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stunned the state by allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen. By next Monday, folks could finally be stepping out of their houses and into the scary, germ-filled world… to get their hair cut, dine in a restaurant or see a movie.
The governor picked the government up and moved it out of the people’s way. In more polished words than we’ll use, he reminded his citizens that they are free-thinking adults, free to make their own decisions.
You know the dangers, he implied, now you choose what’s right.
He pushed the state one step closer to seeing the elephant.
Kemp’s political opponents are fired up. They hate the idea that suddenly – perhaps at the peak of this deadly mess – businesses will reopen and innocent lives will wheeze to death.
But will it happen?
Or is that a big, fat elephant on the horizon?
Since we’re not allowed off our property to investigate such things, we turn to the rags of record to see which tattoo parlors will be busiest on Monday and which all-you-can-eat buffets will sell out of chicken wings first.
“It’s putting economics before lives,” Diane Fall, the owner of a barber shop in Atlanta, told The Wall Street Journal. “[Mr. Kemp’s] putting it out there like he’s doing us a favor, but I’d rather be alive than run my business right now.”
She’s not opening her business.
Instead, it looks like she may have caught a sneak peek of that elusive elephant.
But wait… there’s more.
“I am absolutely incredulous that our governor is doing this,” said Alan Marsh, who owns a pet supply company and is running very limited services these days.
He’s warning his employees not to be gallivanting all over the now-free state.
“If you do and I find out about it, I’ll take you off the schedule,” he said.
He’s seen the elephant too. But we don’t think he appreciates its beauty.
Do the Right Thing
Way up in Juneau, Alaska… Governor Mike Dunleavy virtually rode the elephant into the state capital.
From way up high, he broke the No. 1 rule of any good autocrat.
When asked how he thought his state’s businesses would follow the rules he set to reopen its economy, he said what no reporter wanted to hear.
“I’m less concerned about that,” Dunleavy said. “We’re pretty confident, and you’ve gone through what businesses have gone through. It’s our opinion that you’re going to do the right thing.”
A governor stepping out of the way… saying he believes the people will do the right thing?
Oh be still our beating heart – the emergency rooms are a mess these days.
We’ve seen the elephant, and it’s a magnificent, tusky beast!
The Great Adventurers
And now, so you know what in the world we’re ranting about this morning, we must hop in the Manward time machine (patent pending) and travel back to a time when adventure didn’t require a subscription to Netflix.
We’ll visit the days of the Civil War… when “seeing the elephant” meant a man had seen the horrors of fighting for what he believed in.
We’ll visit the upbeat folks shuffling along the Oregon Trail… who knew that “seeing the elephant” meant risking their lives on an incredible journey in order to get to a better, freer life on the other side.
And we’ll visit the nation’s early rural settlers who would leave their homes, journey down rough roads and wander into a big, smoggy city with the hope of catching a glimpse of the famous circus elephants as they paraded into town.
“Seeing the elephant,” we learn, is quite a treat. But it often means defying death… jaunting into the unfamiliar… saying goodbye to what you know… and journeying out to greet what you trust.
And so we pray that the nation is indeed on its journey to see the elephant.
We’ve lost great Liberty over the last eight weeks. The government’s massive Liberty-crushing moves have saved lives, we must be clear. It’s the opposition’s strongest card.
But now… now… the nation is starting to see that we can save lives without killing our freedom.
Humans make good choices.
The sum of our efforts is good… always.
The government may be allowing businesses to open. But that doesn’t mean you must open yours… or that you must frequent others.
Freedom means choosing what’s best and doing what’s right.
We don’t need a politician (who has a lousy record at both) to tell us what to do.
So boycott the businesses that open. Fire the workers who won’t comply. Stay in your home as long as you need to.
You’ve got the right.
Choose what will keep you safe… and do it.
Just know that with each passing day, more and more Americans are catching a glimpse of that elusive elephant.
It’s been a long, tough road filled with turmoil and death. But if it means the nation finally sees the merits and worth of a society that’s allowed to make its own decisions… it was worth the journey.
That elephant is a beautiful being.
Editor’s Note: What does the elephant look like to you? Let us know your thoughts here.