Aesop in the Florida Debates?

Aesop seems to be a theme today for some reason … here’s the end of an item from the Huffington Post commenting on the Florida senate elections debates:

Thankfully, a commercial break intervened, but immediately afterwards, moderator Antonio Mora, news anchor for host station WFOR-TV, returned to the theme. That’s when Aesop made his cameo appearance.

“In making your run as an Independent, you changed some of the positions you had held as a Republican in the past. In one of Aesop’s fables, he talked about the bats and the beasts and the birds, and how the beasts and the birds were in a fight, and the bat wouldn’t pick a side. In the end, the moral of the story was that he who is neither one thing or another has no friends. Who are you now?”

Crist replied, “I am the same guy I’ve always been…a fiscal conservative and a social moderate,” then pivoted to attack Rubio for wanting to “overturn Roe v. Wade” and “putting…privatization (of Social Security) on the table….I am running against an extreme right wing candidate who believes in taking away women’s rights, punishing seniors…and that’s just not right.”

This is interesting insofar as bats make an appearance in another fable of Aesop … in the Townsend translation (via N.S. Gill):

A BAT who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second time escaped.

… with the concomitant moral: It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.

Not being all that interested in Florida politics, but wary of politicians in general, I’m not sure which ‘batty story’ would best apply …

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One thought on “Aesop in the Florida Debates?

  1. Ha ha, exactly: Aesop’s fables are usually like that – instead of a monolithic philosophy, they provide rhetorical weapons for either side of a debate to use. There is a similar fable about the ambiguous ostrich:

    http://mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/362.htm

    Here is Sir Roger L’Estrange’s marvelous translation which comments exactly on how sometimes it’s good to be shifty, and sometimes not:

    The Estrich is a Creature that passes in common Reputation, for Half-Bird, Half-Beast. This amphibious Wretch happen’d to be taken twice in the same Day in a Battle betwixt the Birds and Beasts, and as an Enemy to both Parties. The Birds would have him to be a Beast, and the Beasts concluded him to be a Bird; but upon shewing his Feet to prove that he was no Bird, and upon shewing his Wings, and his Beak, to prove that he was no Beast, they were satisfy’d both upon the whole Matter, that though he seem’d to be both, he was yet in Truth neither the one nor the other.
    Trimming, in some, Cases, is foul and dishonest; in others laudable, and in some again not only honest but necessary. The Nicety lies in the Skill of distinguishing upon Cases, Times, and Degrees.

    Here’s a Latin version of the ostrich, Struthiocamelus Perfidus:

    http://millefabulae.blogspot.com/search?q=perry418

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