This is a short story about perception and manipulation. Draw your own conclusion…
There was concern around the farm about the growing number of eggs that were being taken by the hen house guards who’d always been trusted to care for them. It seemed the hens had to spend more time laying eggs simply to end up with the same amount each week. This felt unfair and created a frustrating tension.
There was growing talk of the many foxes slinking around in the woods around the farm where nothing mattered but mindless preying on the weak. The foxes would slyly try to talk their way into the hen houses and, as the years went by, it became more difficult to find honest roosters to keep them out.
One day a charismatic rooster came around decrying the evil of the previous hen house guards. He spoke about the need to change the way eggs were being guarded. His rhetoric about the inherent dishonesty of guards and how some were “different” resonated with a large number of scared roosters and hens. These scared roosters and hens were the type who would often attack those with a different look, such as an unacceptable pattern of colors or those who didn’t act in an identical fashion as they themselves did. They were suspicious and easily led by their fears into making irrational decisions. Conformity was comfortable. And comfort felt safe.
The charismatic rooster pointed out that he wasn’t like the “others” – he had the same color pattern as most of them. He managed to turn “diversity” into a dirty word. And he pointed out that he could do a better job of guarding a hen house because he was adept at collecting eggs. He said he’d build a wall protecting the good roosters and hens from the undesirables who would do violence to them. It didn’t seem to matter that his past behavior indicated that he not only ate many more eggs than most, but that he’d even been known to devour roosters and hens as well as injure anyone who got in the way of his mindless obsession with possessing as much as possible. He raised the level of anger against, and suspicion of, those with different color patterns and those who acted differently.
The roosters and hens who weren’t afraid pointed out the incongruities of the words of the charismatic rooster and the blatant discrepancy between his words and actions. They mentioned his habit of voracious consumption, injuring those who disagreed with him, possessing more eggs than anyone could need in a hundred lifetimes and especially the disturbing violence against hens – but it didn’t seem to matter to the scared residents of the farm. Their frustrations about being unfairly treated had come to the surface and they wanted things to change. They’d already made up their minds that they wanted a charismatic leader with strength who would protect them from “the others.” He looked more like them. He spoke about the things most roosters didn’t talk about. He strengthened and validated their hatred and fears, much of which had been deeply buried since they were young. He told them it was acceptable to want more than others and that they were more deserving of enjoying the benefits of the farm because their color pattern was better. He had managed to convince many that obedience was proper behavior.
There was so much talk about the dishonesty of previous hen house guards and the differences in color patterns of feathers that few noticed the deceptive cleverness of the charismatic rooster who was actually a fox in an expensive suit who pretended to be like them.
Is it wise to judge a crook by it’s color?