Written by Chris Dahl

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


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image for Animal Farm Revisited, Part 6: It Didn't Take Long

It Didn't Take Long
Even before the cock crowed that morning and the whole farm was sleeping, Murdoch, Old George and Young George were busy changes Bernard's rules for a "Goldyn Age."

"Can't we just take them all down?" Old George asked as Murdoch carefully scribbled out some of the rules Bernard had put up before the election of Young George.

"Yeah," Young George asked, "can't we just start from scratch?"

"Patience," Murdoch assured the two pigs. "When taking over a farm, never go in and take it all at once. If you come on like a thunderstorm, everyone will run for cover, but if come in like a sun-shower everyone will look up at the sky and say what a beautiful thing it is. It's all a matter of perception."

Young George looked puzzled. Murdoch used such difficult language sometimes. "What does that mean, Murdoch?"

"It means," Murdoch began to explain as he scribbled out a few more words, "that you can't just take everything away at once. You take away one little piece of a people's freedom at a time and before they know it they wake up and they are totally stripped of their freedoms. That's why you need patience, George."

"They'll definitely notice," Young George whined, sounding worried.

"They can't read. Not a one of them, except for that pesky Bernard," Murdoch responded, "and we'll take care him soon enough."

"So why have these rules if they can't read?" Old George wondered.

"You have to give the people illusions," Murdoch told his pig friend. "They have to see something that seems important and very official, but this very important and very official is actually just a flashlight shining in their eyes, blinding them."

"Okay," Young George began, "why would we want to blind them?"

"It's not literal, George," Murdoch scolded the young leader, "it's a metaphor. We want them distracted with one thing so we can do another."

"The Pipeline," Old George interjected excitedly.

"In the end, we build the Pipeline," Murdoch agreed. "But for now we need to go step by step."

"What's the plan?" Old George asked.

"Step one went off beautifully," Murdoch mused. "That pest Bernard didn't get to speak - not a word. We stole the election right in front of his eyes, and he went along with it. He actually bought that whole line of nonsense. Now for step two: start taking these rules apart, piece by piece until they're gone."

"There will be an uprising," Young George retorted.

"Not if there's fear," Murdoch told the new leader.
"Mental terror does more than a pistol or a bomb. Keep the animals constantly worrying about their safety; keep some enemy right around the corner, never attacking but always about to attack. You've got to keep the fear up and then promise them that you will be their lord and protector. Rely on me, you have to tell them, and you will be safe. Just do exactly what I say and that dark force will never touch you. They'll lose their freedom. Actually they'll hand it over to you on a silver platter. All you need is a crisis."

"A crisis?" Young George began, "we never really a crisis on the farm. I mean, there was Old Kennedy, but that was a human crisis. We haven't had any real crisis since the days of Napoleon and Snowball and the Battle of the Cowshed. I mean, we had the little election flap-up, but that was just a little talking. We never had a real crisis that changed the farm like you're talking about."

"We will," Murdoch said sounding confident, "just wait until the sun rises."

The cock finally crowed as the sun began to shine above the jagged rows of corn to the east of the farm. The hens began their chattering and filled the barn with a cacophony of gossip about Young George, wondering what he was going to do next, guessing how good it would be on the farm from now on. The horses shook their heads and snorted and shook the hay from their nappy hair. The cows mooed about the good times to come and the dogs ran frenzied, chasing each other in excitement, stopping to scratch behind their ears or chase their own tails. The birds chirped the good news of a new day through the green leaves of the trees.

All seemed well and good … until they meandered over to the center of the yard. The dogs ran up to it, lying there and sniffed at it, smelling the dried blood, the torn flesh and the oozing organs. It reeked of fear and they ran off yapping for Bernard. The chicks and hens waddled cautiously through the growing crowd to see what it was the dogs were running from. The horses craned their heads from out of their stalls, wondering what the hullabaloo was all about. The cows loped over to the edge of the crowd and poked their wet noses through the trembling animals.
Bernard broke through the crowd and skidded short of it. "Ye gads!" he cried out. He had never seen such a thing in his whole life. It was a boar who would have better off sent to slaughter: its head was hanging on by little more than a tendril. All the blood had drained out and dried into the dirt beneath its jaw and grimy tusks. Its belly had been slit open and the guts hung half out and half in, slowly slide out on to the ground. Flies buzzed about the open throat and the oozing guts. Bernard was the only animal who could read more than a here or a word there, so he was the only one who saw the ominous sign painted on the side of the boar.

"What does it say?" Scylla asked.

"Tell us," demanded Chardibis.

"Who's next?" Bernard stated flatly.

"What does it mean?" The Wise Old Owl asked from a branch above.

"I guess it means that one of us is next," Bernard murmured and turned away.

The animals all screamed out for answers. They wanted to know who did it? Who would do such a thing? Who's next? Is this the end of the farm? Where's Young George?
On cue, Murdoch barged through the crowd, followed by Old George, Young George, Donald and Dick. "Step aside," Murdoch commanded, "boar coming through. Pigs coming through. Move out of the way."

The crowd parted and Murdoch halted dramatically in his steps. The two Georges followed his lead, even drawing deep sighs of fear and exasperation. With great intention, Young George stepped slowly toward the stiffening carcass as the crowd stayed hushed. "Who's next?" he muttered beneath his rancid breath. "Who's next?" he repeated in louder tones. Then, he said it a third time and turned theatrically toward the crowd of animals who had just elected him and stated firmly, "Who's next? Not one of us, I say."

"But I'm afraid," said Marksy the horse.

"Me too," the chickens and hens cackled unevenly. Then all the others joined in, expressing their fears and concerns. They wanted him to them what he was going to do.

"Animals, animals," Young George addressed his new-found supporters. "I know you're afraid. I know there has never been a strike like this on our farm, not to an animal anyway. We will always remember this day, but we cannot allow fear to ruin our lives. We must be alert. We must be careful, but we must try our best to go about our lives and follow our normal routine as best as possible. We cannot give into these terrorists and their terroristic acts. This will not stand!"

"But what do we do, George?" Marksy asked.

"We go about our business to begin with," George orated; "and luckily I and the pigs have drafted an amended set of rules to live be in these perilous times."

Scylla leaned toward Bernard and asked what perilous meant. "Scary," Bernard answered him.

Young George and his retinue ambled on over to the board that held Bernard's original rules. "Luckily the pigs and I have re-drafted the rules of Goldyn Farm to meet the needs of this scary age in which we live," Young George announced.

"Wait," Bernard said as he trotted over, followed by the other animals. "When did you do this?"

"Just now, Bernie," Murdoch growled.

"You couldn't have," Bernie disagreed. "You must have done this before the boar was killed."

"I said we did just that," Murdoch repeated himself and growled again for emphasis.

"Something's not right," Bernard said and shook his head.

"Now's not the time for your cynicism," Murdoch said from behind Young George. "Now is the time for the New Animalism, a rejuvenation of the oldest and most honorable philosophy that this farm has ever seen. It was brought to us by the famous Napoleon, almost undermined by the traitor Snowball, and spread by Squealer. It was destroyed by the human influence of greed, but left on its own, without outside influence, it is quite possibly the purest philosophy ever created by a Pig. Now is not the time for questioning our authority. Now is the time for loyalty, for all Animals to sacrifice and be one, not a splintered group individuals. You're either a true Animal or not an Animal." He dragged his trotter across the dusty dirt and said, "I draw the line in the ground. You're either with us or against."

"Give up our freedom?" Bernard yelled.

"It sounds extreme," Young George began to explain, "but this is a dangerous time, and with this temporary sacrifice, we will make it through and no one will have to end up like that poor, decapitated boar in the middle of our yard. That is why we will be posting levels of alert each morning so you will know exactly how much in danger you are. Red will be high alert. Yellow will mean caution and green will mean no threat at all. Right now obviously we are at high alert, red. Be wary of everything. Keep an eye on the gate, keep an eye on the wall, and keep one eye peeled on the sky. If you see anything suspicious, tell the first boar or pig you see and we will send out the troops."

Dick pulled at a rope that raised a red flag, actually a pair of Old man Kennedy's Saturday Night boxer shorts, to fly the color for an extreme alert.

"In the name of security and the safety of the farm, certain changes have been to the constitution," Old George said quickly. "First of all, it was, in fact, Napoleon's vision of a Goldyn Age here on the farm, not a modern idea - not Old Man Kennedy' s or any human's idea. That was the first change we made. Second, for the time being, for the safety of all you Animals who stand before me, 'you' not 'we' will live by these rules. This is temporary but necessary. If something horrible should happen, we cannot be held by back rules. We need to be able to go into any home, at any time and investigate anyone. Third, you must be what is most useful to the farm. We've talked of sacrifice before, and now is the time for just that. Fourth, and what might be most important, you only will take what you earn and nothing more. During times like these, everything, all of our scarce resources must be rationed out very carefully. Finally, we, The Pigs, have seized temporary control of everything. This, again, is for your safety and well-being, and is not done out of greed. This is to ensure that no act of terror affects all of our resources."

This is what the new constitution looked like when the Pigs were done with the original:

Welcome to a Noo Day
Goldyn Farm

NaPoleon'S Dream
Welcome to The Noo AGE

In order to ensure the peace of the farm and the well-being
Of all of its citizens we will live by these few simple rules:

1. Be WhaT Is most hElpFul to The farm
2. Take what you earn, not what you want

3. Do what you should and not you want
4. Put in a lot
5. Everything on the fARm is ours, not yours

"You can't just do that," Bernard yelled furiously. "We all agreed on one thing and then you just go and change it without asking anyone, not one Animal. They should have a say! I already stepped aside and let you steal the election, but I won't let you steal the basis of our rights here on the farm," Bernard attacked the Pigs and the Boar.
"This is an emergency!" Murdoch roared. "You're wasting time and when you waste time, you're putting lives in danger! I won't stand here and let you put these fine Animals in danger."

"I don't want to be in danger, Bernard," Marksy said. "It's only temporary anyway."

"It won't be," Bernard said turning to the crowd, "mark my words. Watch!"

Pointing at Bernard, Murdoch yelled at the crowd: "This man is putting your lives in danger!"

"I'm trying to save your lives, unless you want to live as slaves in constant fear each and every day!" Bernard shot back at them.

"Animal Farm is a Free Farm," Young George proclaimed.
"Not if they can't have a say in their laws," Bernard said to the pig.

"Then what do you propose, Bernard?" Murdoch questioned his opponent.

"A vote," Bernard was so proud about his statement that he puffed out his chest and let his tail whip in the air.

"A vote?" Young George said. "Can they do that daddy?"

"Absolutely not," Old George asserted. "We have the power, so no, they can't demand that."

"This is a free farm and all animals will have their say," Bernard demanded. "If the boars can vote then we can certainly demand a vote on this."

Old George was just about to speak when Murdoch pushed him aside and addressed Bernard directly, "Don't worry. I'll handle this. I figured Bernard would pull something like this. So, yes, of course we can have a vote. This is a free farm, the finest farm in the land, and we will honor that by hearing everyone's voice. Everyone gets to vote on the changes to the constitution. The vote will take place in one hour - see you there."

Murdoch had indeed prepared for Bernard's insistence on a vote and he had two voting barrels set by the horses to collect the votes. Each one had a hole just large enough to fit the average horses hoof or the leg of a calf, but the chicks and hens had to be careful not to fall in. One barrel had painted on it in Murdoch's uneven hand: AnimaLs with HAir VOTe Heer. And on the other barrel was written: ANImals With FuR Vote HEeR. The system was simple and fair on the surface. Each animal was given a piece of wood from the scrap heap behind the barn and then the animal would simply put the chit in the barrel of his choice. One pig and one dog would be present to count the pieces of wood, with a third party, like the Wise Old Owl watching, just to make sure there would be no foul play. It should have gone off without a hitch.

Even Bernard had hope in the system. "It's quite simple," Bernard told Scylla and Chardibis, who were having a hard time hanging on to the finer points of a free vote. "All you do is put the piece of wood in the barrel for the person you want to vote for. We count them up and the one that has more wins."

"It's that simple?" Chardibis asked.

"Yes," Bernard lectured. "A free election is the easiest way to decide things."

"Okay then," Murdoch's booming voice filled the yard, "let's prepare to vote. Make sure you have your hunk of wood and know which one you're voting for. Just come on up and cast your vote!"

The animals formed a ragged train of hair, fur, feathers and mange. The boars, of course, hustled and barged their way to the head of the line, immediately throwing their pieces of wood in this barrel or that. Murdoch seemed and even cordial to the line of animals approaching him, directing to one barrel or the other. "Animals with hair to the right. Animals with fur to the left," Murdoch expressed gracefully. And horses dropped their wooden chunks in the Animals with Hair barrel and The Boars and The Pigs (who considered themselves virtually hairless, certainly not as hairy as those beasts like cows, dogs and horses) dropped their votes in the barrel for Animals without Hair.

Bernard, who was standing right by the barrels, whispered to Scylla, "This will be a landslide once the chickens and the hens show up to vote. Are all the horses and the cows done?"

"I think so," Chardibis murmured back.

"There's no way we can lose," Bernard gloated. "We're going to win with all these votes. Where are those chickens?"

Everything was going fine until the roosters, and the chickens followed by their chicks, started strolling through the yard toward the barrels, silenced for once by the wood clamped between their beaks. The white of Bernard's eyes could be seen he was so excited. "Here they come," he barked out.

Murdoch saw the troupe of poultry coming at him and he hopped to it, meeting them halfway between the barrels and the yard. "Where do you think you're going?" he confronted them.

A rooster spit out his ballot-wood and answered: "We're going to vote in the election."

"Oh no," Murdoch faked sincerity. "There must have been some sort of mistake, some kind of misunderstanding. Animals with feathers cannot vote in this kind of election"
Bernard darted over and pestered Murdoch: "Why? Why? Why? What misunderstanding? What are you talking about?"
"I thought you knew about a free election," Murdoch said with a mock courtesy, "or at least this kind of free election. It's called a closed election. You have to be a part of one of the two groups - Animals With Hair or Animals Without Hair - and as you can see, this congress of fowls are covered in feathers. There's no voting barrel for animals with feathers. "

"I should have known you Pigs were up to something!" Bernard said and stomped his paws furiously. "They're still citizens. The constitution stills means something to them."
"We're not up to anything," Murdoch remained calm as he spoke. "And the constitution means just as much to us as it does to them. In fact, it means more to us because we have to protect everyone. That's what politicians do. It's Politics. You can look it up."

"What is Politics?" Scylla whispered to Bernard.

"Politics," Bernard responded, "is a bunch of big fat guys ripping off little guys. You don't have to look it up to realize that."

"Bernard," Murdoch started with a false apologetic tone, "a closed election is used to maintain clarity and order. It's not some sort of trick like you think."

"If we lose," snapped back at the boar, "there's going to be a recount."

"There's no such thing as a recount," Murdoch told Bernard; "they've been outlawed for years in any civilized farm. And we are a civilized farm, Bernard."

"Sometimes I wonder," Bernie said, and he sidled away in defeat.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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