Marius in his Danish Home. Photo BBC News/AFP
This is the story of a Marius. Like many, Marius grew up knowing "his" life -- meaning if there was another out there, he didn't know it; he had only seen his own. And it wasn't bad. He had friends, there was plenty to eat, he was well cared for, got lots of attention and was very social. He fit in to his society well.
Marius didn't make trouble; why would he? There was no real cause for confrontation on any fronts. He didn't come from an aggressive area, wasn't surrounded with anger or violence. His was a quiet, routine life.
As he grew he began noticing girls, as many youngsters developing in to being a full blown male will do. The more he noticed, the more those around him made him stay away, stay to himself.
Then one day something was different. Everyone was treating him differently. They made him stay in his room. Then some strangers came in. They restrained him. What's going on? He was terrified! This had never happened before!
What's that silver thing in his hand? That's cold on my head! What a loud...
And then nothing.
And so ends the short life of Marius, Marius the giraffe at a Danish Zoo.
No, he didn't know he was surplus. He didn't know that he would end up in a research lab or fed to lions, like one of his ancestors so many miles away. He didn't know he was mediocre, not genetically up to snuff. How could he? And why would his survival depend up on it?
According to a story in the BBC and according to the Danish zoo's Scientific Director Bengt Holst, "Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes," Mr Holst told the BBC.
Gattica for animals has arrived and with 20-30 animal destructions per year at the referenced zoo alone, appears to be going strong worldwide.
But isn't that the attitude many in America feel today? Don't many of us feel like Marius, the #SurplusGiraffe? How many of us feel that someone in our life, some bank or boss, some spouse or parent, some Congress person or Senator can end our lives as we know them, chop up the remnants and feed it to not the lions but the wolves of Wall St.?
As Americans, we never thought we were surplus, and if we weren't deemed of the best genes, that we simply weren't worthy to have our existence go on.
Those on unemployment never really believed the Senate, their Congress, the People's House, would really cut their meager-to-begin-with-non-living-wage-insurance benefits and not reinstate them at least for a little while. But alas, your life as you know it if you are unemployed, not of means, not one of the 3.4 million millionaires in America today, it simply isn't necessary to this country's existence.
You, in fact, are a #SurplusGiraffe.
Your benefits can be cut at any time for any reason. A trillion dollars goes through the People's House called a Farm Bill, in it, at a time of great economic hardship being felt by millions, the good Republicans with consent of the Democrats CUT a program that feeds those who cannot afford to feed themselves in the economy created by the one percent. That same House approves spending $70 billion a month on bonds to flood Wall St. with money to "prop up the economy." $74 billion a YEAR to feed hungry people of which more resources are needed, not less, gets cut to $66 billion a YEAR, but $70 billion a MONTH sustained goes to bonds.
Yes, the poor, the hungry are #SurplusGiraffe having their meager lives gobbled up by poverty, predatory lenders, collection agencies, banks, too little public support, their American Dream of at least having enough to eat and to be able to get by with some dignity shot with the bolt gun of the Great Recession and hacked up and vivisected by Congress for inspection before being thrown to the private sector.
Most at their jobs know they could be culled from the herd at any point, a #SurplusGiraffe waiting one day to go in and hear those horrid words that begin a treacherous journey called career change, you've been cut. It's all over. The week of Feb. 3 Disney Interactive cut 200 jobs, with more expected; in fact, across radio, TV, all media, more layoffs. And while numbers of rosy returns and record stock markets, less people applying for unemployment and numbers falling, the truth is, people have less, are getting by with less, expect less and hope for little.
Cities go bust and pension threats loom. The life you may have expected, or have been living, changed, forever, by decisions above and beyond you by people you've never met. #SurplusGiraffe
Two companies merge so their stock holders and CEOs can make more and consolidate your job away, or ask you to politely get out by retiring early. #SurplusGiraffe
Your unemployment check simply isn't in the mailbox or deposited on to the debit card they MAKE you use which costs you money paid to the BANK every time you use it. #SurplusGiraffe
You already live on $8 a day for food for you and two kids, and now that has to go down to $6.50, so, you won't be eating the last week of the month so they can. But corporations and corporate farmers keep their billion dollar subsidies. #SurplusGiraffe
You are almost 70 and now have to live on under $1100 a month for everything. You often have to pay for your own medicines because of something cutely called a donut hole that feels more like a financial vortex. Every six months or so, Congress threatens your benefits in some way and you never know year-to-year how you are going to survive. And if you get sick or need care... #SurplusGiraffe
You are overweight. You don't want to be, but everything in your life is poison. Sugar is added to all of the food you can afford, and fast food it's all fat and salt, but it's cheap. You don't have three hours a day to cook, and ready-made food is filled with salt, fat and sugar. The gym is expensive, even at $30 or $40 a month it's more than you've got. You work dusk until dawn. You eat on $50 a week. The food system is poisoning you so then you get diabetes and need to take drugs you can't afford and shop at stores that don't sell food you can eat anymore and take drugs or else you die so you must always pay a drug company where you were led by the food industry... #SurplusGiraffe
Insert yours here.
Maybe it's wise to kill Giraffes because they breed well and you should only keep the best of the best. That's the attitude the ruling class has about the poor. They breed well, but let's facilitate a system so skewed against them that only the fittest of the fit, or the luckiest of the lucky, or the favorite of the favorites will get ahead. And if they fall upon harder times, and they can't afford the system we've set up, let's make sure they are punished by a life of deprivation, stress and worry until they can get more points in the bank. And if they can't, well, half of Americans will die broke, so we see what happens when we can't.
It didn't take long after posting the story at my SoMe (social media) that the responses began pouring in with people saying they, too, feel like a #SurplusGiraffe -- many every day.
But unlike Marius, we don't have to be led off to slaughter, leaving our carcasses to be rendered in to the giant vat of America's system of great greed or poverty with no middle.
First, on a personal level, we can, in fact, find meaning. I know that I have to create my way through the rest of my life, selling my only asset, my skills as an entertainer and artist, possessing only talent, passion, love for family and friends and a desire to leave this place better than when I came to it. That is not an easy life and financial stability has eluded me at 51. I am both terrified and excited by the future, but either way, committed to it knowing who I am and what I need to do. It's a plan, at least: a guide to my own usefulness as I see myself fitting in on the planet.
Second, the only real problematic #SurplusGiraffe at the moment are the 435 members of Congress and 100 members of the Senate as well as five of the nine Supremes, or 550 people whose inbreeding and incestuous affairs with corporate money, the extremely wealthy and the brokers of influence and power through wealth and connection demand a complete culling. New officials, new parties. A Progressive Party, that believes the people deserve the best America no matter their economic status and a conservative party that believes in American business by demanding much of it be done here and the trade deficit be closed with workers being paid a living, not minimum, but living wage and have dignity and security again.
We won't bolt gun them and then feed them to liberal hyenas, but they will be shown back to their districts to rejoin the real workforce, retire or simply go away.
Anyone in your life that thinks you, your needs or your existence should in some way be less than theirs because you have less points in the banking game is the #SurplusGiraffe, not you.
Anyone that thinks all members of American society are not equal and that some do not deserve equal rights, especially if they are Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, White, Blue, Poor or Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Straight, Plushy-loving or worse, a woman is the #SurplusGiraffe not you.
Ted Nugget #SurplusGiraffe
Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh #SurplusGiraffe
Governments and supporters of Anti-Gay Countries including Russia, Nigeria, Somalia, The Congo and countless others and the Right Wing Christian groups in America that support this new apartheid #SurplusGiraffe
Get the idea.
Marius didn't die in vain. He showed us that many of us are being looked upon like he was. But he mattered. He wasn't a surplus anything. He lived to teach a lesson.
And that lesson is unless we want to continue to receive bolts to the head and have our lives upheaved or ended as we know them, with our bodies thrown in with the other debris left in the wake of the oligarchic take over of our nation then we need to prove that we are not surplus in the gene pool, a drain on our nation and our society. And that proof is not in how much money we have, but how much we invest in each other and in our country and the health and well being of all its citizens no matter their economic status or the pool of genes from which they came.