Imagine Tux’s surprise when a cat, yes, a cat, slithered under the gate of the privacy deck right outside the family room’s French doors. At first, he was immobilized, stunned by the audacity of the animal. Grace was the first to react, racing to the glass doors and barking her outrage. Tux followed her, but before he could issue forth a single bark, the cat had slithered back under the gate.
The cat, however, wasn’t done with us. When it realized that the hounds from hell hadn’t been released on her, she turned around and came back. Yes, really. She came back. Then she added insult to injury and sauntered slowly and casually not more than a foot from the reaches of the world’s most frightening Cocker Spaniels. Not once did the arrogant cat look their way. She totally ignored them both. That took away their voices. No one had ever been so outrageous in their presence before. Had the cat lost her mind? Did she think there wouldn’t be consequences to her actions? What did she do next?
She lay down. Yes, she did. She laid down. The boards of the deck had undoubtedly been warmed by the morning sun. She laid down in the remaining patch of sunlight. What did Tux and Grace do? Nothing. They did nothing. They didn’t bark, they didn’t insist on being let out, they didn’t do anything. That’s how stunned they were at the cat’s behavior.
The cat, of course, lost interest in the game when Tux and Grace would do nothing but stare at her. She got up and stretched - first one rear leg and then the other. She calmly went out the way she had come in - slithering gracefully beneath the gate. She knew she’d won. I’m not sure Tux and Grace realized they’d been had. It took them several minutes to understand that the cat wasn’t coming back. She’d done what she’d set out to do. She shamed them both. Only they didn’t realize they’d been had.
Hours later, Tux is still checking out the deck. The cat hasn’t come back. If she does, however, Tux will be ready for her this time.
We can sometimes be stunned into silence by the arrogance of another. That doesn’t mean we don’t care or, indeed, we condone the behavior of the arrogant one. What it does mean, though, is that if we don’t find our voice and our willingness to act, the arrogant one will assume we condone his behavior and use our silence and inaction against us. Sound familiar? It should since it’s exactly what the politicians are doing to us right now.