Sarah, Joe and Liza the Chicken

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

You can get a lot of insight while while doing leg press exercises at the gym and watching a show about chickens on the large screen TV.

It happened to me Sunday at the gym as I gazed at the close-captioning on the screen above me, which was tuned into PBS, which was running a older documentary titled The Natural History of Chickens.

I’ve always wanted chicken but have never had the chance since I’ve always lived in towns which prohibit them in backyards.  So, I’ve gotten my vicarious experience with chickens courtesy The Hencam and Vasalini’s Chicken Cam.  Seeing a show on PBS, therefore, was a real treat as I counted reps.

As I finished up my stint on the leg press, a story started rolling across the bottom of the screen. It was about a very special chicken that one of the farmers featured on the program recalled with great fondness and appreciation.

Let me tell it to you now…

Liza was a small Silkie banty hen, with white fluffy feathers that looked almost like fur.  Since she was smaller than the other chickens at the farm, she had some hard times.  When she tried to lay her tiny eggs, she was pushed out of the nest box.  Liza desperately wanted to be a mother…she would try to “mother” the chicks of the other hens, only to be chased away.  The farmer began to take pity on her, so he built her a nest box apart from the others, and Liza began to lay her eggs, only to have them eaten by rats.

The farmer had formed a bond with Liza and was now very worried about her. She became listless and started to pluck at her feathers.  She was obviously in distress. So, the farmer finally constructed a miniature chicken coop just for her.  She laid one egg at a time until there were six, then settled into incubating them.  When her babies finally hatched, the farmer said they were “achingly small” compared to other chicks and he hesitated to let them out in the yard.  But, as Liza and her newly-hatched chicks fussed about being cooped up during that first week, he finally let them out and they began enjoying the normal routine of daily chicken life. Liza proved to be an excellent mother and the chicks thrived.

One day while out in the yard, the entire flock suddenly froze and then began dashing for shelter in a panic.  The farmer, who happened to be looking out the window and saw the commotion. knew right away that a hawk was in the vicinity.  He saw Liza running toward the house, then suddenly turn…she had lost her chicks.  Running back, she found them and gathered them under her and hunkered down. In horror, the farmer saw the hawk swoop down…and it was over.

The farmer went out toward the pile of white feathers, all that was left of LIza.  As he neared her, he saw a chick pop its head out…He knelt down to pick up Liza but before he could, she was up and herding her little family back to where they had been scratching for seeds.

Liza’s feathers were so fluffy that the hawk had misjudged just how far to fly down.  It hadn’t been able to pick her up as he swooped over her, so…he missed!

Later, the farmer reflected on what Liza had done. He had never seen it happen before. He said he had thought to himself, “Here is a creature, thought to be devoid of any thought or feelings, who ignored her own ‘fight or flight’ instinct to go back to her chicks, willing to sacrifice her own life as she tried to protect them.”  Liza would always remain very special to him.

So what does this have to do with politics?  Well, here we have two VP candidates with compelling stories about their families.  And which one is getting trashed? Sarah Palin, of course, because suddenly the Democratic Party has decided to crucify her as a “working mother”  especially because she decided carry through and bring a Down’s Syndrome child into the world.  Joe Biden, after losing his wife and a child in a tragic accident, decides to take his newly-won Senate.  With two very small sons at home, he commutes to Washington, DC so he can be home every night.  Has anyone ever judged his decision to take his Senate seat only weeks after his wife’s death and assume the time-consuming job of being a Senator with two young children at home?  Anybody question his parenting skills?

Didn’t think so…

Two working parents, making difficult, Liza-like decisions.  Trying to do the best they can for their children as they continue with their own lives.

But only one subjected to insult and derision.