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Elephant in the Room

What is it about elephant metaphors? The memory of an elephant. How to eat an elephant. The elephant in the room.

Elephants are the stuff of philosophers, poets, comedians, politicians, movies and books:​

  • "If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." (Desmond Tutu)

  • "An Elephant is rather large, His feet extremely big. And if he sat upon you he would snap you like a twig." (John W. Fenn)

  • "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know." (Groucho Marx)

  • "When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run." (Abraham Lincoln)

  • "I ain’t never seen an elephant fly! " (Dumbo’s Hecklers)

Elephants are a symbol of luck, wisdom, strength, loyalty and yes, the GOP. Most politicians consider themselves wise and strong, but few can compare to Babar. Elephant-loyalty is becoming an endangered species. Can’t you just hear Paul Ryan, John Kasich or Ted Cruz in a refrain like Horton, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent!” (Dr. Seuss) On the other hand, one of my very favorite quotes is from Donald Trump: “THE HARDER I WORK THE LUCKIER I GET.”

In 1874 the industrialist, Andrew Carnegie built the first bridge made of steel. Though he had been an innovative builder, the people didn’t trust him and claimed the structure was unsafe. With skin as thick as an elephant's Carnegie was undaunted and set out to prove his reliability. It was widely believed that an elephant would never cross a surface if it were unstable. So he led an elephant across the structure himself. A parade of people followed confidently behind and the great era of steel construction began.

Let us not forget that a trumpeting, bellowing, ear-flapping elephant is the strongest animal in the room and he needs a nose skillful enough to sniff out corruptness in the peanut gallery.

"Smelling isn't everything," said the elephant.

"Why," said the bulldog, "if a fellow can’t trust his nose, who is he to trust?"

"Well, his brains, perhaps," she replied. (C.S. Lewis)

Although a Donkey is trying to eat the Elephant a bite at a time, in my opinion, the elephant’s room should be the Oval Office.