The Elephant in the Room

04/18/2013 09:10 am ET | Updated Jun 18, 2013

The dysfunction of the U.S. government is evident each day.

The two party system has degenerated into a repetitive ideological battle that defies compromise. Democrats are unable to hold their forces together on many key issues while Republicans have a death wish to exterminate any semblance of the reasonableness that produced Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Everett Dirkson, Jacob Javits and even Ronald Reagan.

Yet through coincidence or synchronicity, President Obama may be able to prevent the extermination of Republican reasonableness by creating a bipartisan body to prevent the extermination of the symbol of the Republican party -- the elephant -- and in the process, could awaken legislators to the lessons of memory, intelligence and nobility that the elephant exemplifies.

The fate of the elephant reflects the gamut of political issues. It involves foreign relations on several continents (Africa and Asia), illegal business practices (ivory trafficking), hunger, poverty and population growth (traditional feeding grounds overrun by an expanding public). It reflects the arts (elephants can paint), and the strength of the family unit (a matriarchal society where generations live together for decades).

But horrifically, we are now seeing the decimation of the elephant as poachers slaughter these endangered creatures by machine gun and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

A few weeks ago, a machine gun attack in Chad butchered 86 elephants. Thirty three were pregnant; fifteen were juveniles. Their carcasses were left to rot after their tusks were removed.

Three times the number of victims than the Newtown massacre, where the use of a similar assault weapon annihilated the lives of 20 children and 6 teachers.

Theodore Roosevelt, one of our greatest presidents, was a Republican. He was a big game hunter and a committed sportsman but would have a name for these elephant killers, the shooters who murder defenseless children and innocent civilians, and the politicians who allow these weapons of mass destruction to remain available as they serve the business interests of the gun lobby.

Roosevelt would have called them cowards, lacking moral balls.

This is a multi-party problem. But Republicans are more to blame and have more to lose as they are out of touch with American sentiment. If they continue to conform to the extreme rigidity into which their party has evolved, they, like the threatened elephant, will disappear, and their remnants will have to find a new symbol.

Perhaps the ostrich, which habitually buries its head in the sand.