I can't talk about politics. Not here, anyway. It's just too engaging a topic. People want to talk back, and even when they agree with me, I wind up just feeling sick and sad. I want the election to be over, and I want it to be a CLEAN one, for once. Earlier tonight, I puked out the entirety (almost) of my sheer political and emotional (Can I separate my emotions from anything? NO I CAN NOT.) exhaustion all over my mother's email, and I actually felt better after that. This is especially remarkable when you consider that my mom and I do not currently vote the same way--not even close. But honestly, when you're just terrified of the future, who do you want? You want your mommy, that's who.
Anyway, I just don't have it in me right now to engage in any political debate, and it's darn near inescapable. I can't take one more story about vote caging or push-polling or other dirty tricks. I can't bear listening to one more person holding forth with strong opinions which are built on misinformation or ignorance. I can't stand how much we, as Americans, want to hate each other--that's the most disturbing thing of all, and I don't hold out much hope for the divide to be healed anytime soon.
But I am not, by any means, ashamed of my politics, nor do I think they need to be kept secret for any reason. So what I will do here, just this once, is compromise.
I will tell you about my turkeys.
You see, these turkeys I chose, they are not your standard Butterball. We could've raised those (they're called Broad-Breasted Whites, and they're bred for huge, heavy breasts), but decided, as with our chickens, to opt for a "Heritage" breed of fowl, and chose Narragansetts. They're an actual, historically important, natural, all-American bird. If you turned these turkeys loose in the woods, not only would they be just fine, they would thrive. They can reproduce on their own. They can raise young. They can forage for food. Most importantly, for the purposes of this story, they can FLY. Oh, boy, can they ever fly. This recently presented us with a problem.
All of our birds, while locked up safe at night, are let out during the daytime to free-range. They're free to wander pretty much the entire property here, scratching around for bugs, picking grass and weeds to eat, digging shallow holes for dust-baths, and generally just getting up to whatever kinds of poultry-based silliness they'd like. And the turkeys like, among other things, getting up as high as they can. The roosts in the turkey pen that Alex built are 12 feet high. They love it up there. And we rather enjoyed watching them soar around the place, until we started having problems with turkeys winding up in places they shouldn't be, like in the yard with the dogs, and with turkeys roosting in trees or on top of buildings at night, instead of locked up inside a nice, safe, predator-proof enclosure. We were especially worried about our beautiful birds coming down on the wrong side of our fence, and winding up on the property of one of our boundary-challenged neighbors.
So we decided, unanimously and fairly quickly, that some wing-clipping was in order. Not to ground them entirely, but to keep them closer to the ground. Then followed the discussion of how best to do the clipping. It's totally painless, like clipping your fingernails--you just cut off about 2/3 of the primary flight feathers with a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Nothing to it. But I'd researched a bit, and read that, if you clip both wings, a determined turkey will still be able to get up on rooftops and over fences by sheer force of will--in other words, by merely flapping harder. So the trick is to clip only one wing, thereby putting the bird off balance, so that they can't really get terribly high up off the ground any more.
There followed a good bit of discussion as to which wing to clip. We wanted to do everyone the same way, so that we'd be able to tell at a glance who'd been clipped and who hadn't, and also so that we'd know exactly where to watch for new feather growth later. An opportunity for a delicious metaphor presented itself pretty much immediately, and we had some fun with it. I'm sure you can see where this is going.
In the end, we opted to clip all our birds' right wings, and with more than a little pleasure, calling them all pet names, like "Newt" and "Dick" and "Karl," as we cut feathers (we don't own a turkey stupid enough to be called "Dubya," unfortunately). Depending on the outcome of November's election, those nicknames might come in handy again at butchering time.* In any case, now our turkeys are safely contained on our own property, and we're able to usher them into their safe house at night, and not worry about where they are.
And yes, we realize that what we're now left with are a bunch of left-winged turkeys. But seeing as how, no matter which choice we made, we were going to be surrounded by turkeys anyway, we decided that we'd much rather they be left-wing turkeys than right-wing turkeys.
EDITED TO ADD: Turkeys with two fully functioning wings, working TOGETHER, are graceful, efficient, and a thing of beauty to behold. They can feed their ranks, roost safely, and deflect attack from would-be evildoers. On the other hand, turkeys missing part of one wing, and attempting to work with just the one, are clumsy, awkward, ineffective at tasks that should come naturally, and are significantly more vulnerable to attack from enemies. Make what you will of these observations.
And that's as much as I wanna say about that. Please vote.
*Before anyone suggests it, no, there shall be no sarcastic naming of female turkeys or chickens, as we must live with them for the long haul. The girls, naturally, are named after bloggers. Do you want to be honored in the form of poultry? Want to know if you ALREADY ARE? Leave me a comment stating your case. You could be the next Meg Fowl or Rhiannon Hen. You just have to be prepared to have your namesake unexpectedly murdered by a fox. It happens.