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Watching the Watchdog: An Election Day Fable

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Tim Knight writes the regular media column, Watching the Watchdog, for HuffPost Canada.

The following manuscript was recently discovered during fighting on the outskirts of Baghdad, hidden inside a clay pot in a cave. It's believed to be some 1,500 years old but its provenance and authenticity are still being investigated.

And it came to pass that after four years the peoples of the land to the south, which are multitudes, came together in the places where they did live to decide among them which man should be their leader and guide their tribe out of bondage to the promised land which, it was said by the prophets, overflowed with milk and honey.

During those four years there had been much sadness, wailing and gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts in the land as the tribe's riches and power ebbed, and the people lost faith in their tribe.

Where once faraway tribes had bowed down before them and feared them, now they were mocked as no more than a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol.

So therefore, many leaders did arise who did each say unto the people that he alone was strong and of good courage and should be their leader to lead them out of the slough of despond and into the land of milk and honey.

And each of those who would be leaders did tell many lies unto the people. "Fear not" each did say, "for I will go with thee. I will not fail thee. Neither will I forsake thee." After much wasting of treasure and exchange of promises, monies and harlots, it came to pass that there were but two men remaining to seek that high office which is called leader of the tribe.

Now, the people did see that that the two men, even though of the same tribe, were exceedingly different; of unalike knowledge and riches and hues.

One was already the leader, but according to the ancient laws of the tribe had to return unto the people and ask if he should continue to occupy that throne which is above them and close to the right hand of God. He was a man learned in the ways of the law, had served the poor, the needy and the dispossessed, and was a poor man and a black man.

The other, who wished to wear the crown and be the leader of the tribe, was learned in the ways of the marketplace, had many shekels, knew the ways of the money changers in the temple and was a white man.

The man who would be leader spake angry words of the man who was already leader, saying that he kneweth not how to lead their tribe and their manservants and their maidservants and their oxen out of bondage to the promised land which overflowed with milk and honey.

And each did say unto the multitudes that the other was an uncircumcised barbarian who knew not the truth, neither was he worthy of their love, nor of their respect. And each did say that the other was an evil man who knew not how to serve their God and lead their tribe.

Each day the people were admonished: "You shall have no other gods before me. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

And each day the people did ask "Why should I hie only unto thee?"

And each day the leaders did answer "For I am the truth and the light." And when the people did question further, the leaders did answer further: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

It so happened that there were those in the tribe who did remember the curse that the prophet Noah put upon Ham who was a black man. And who did remember that descendants of Ham were cursed to be lowly manservants and maidservants and hewers of wood and drawers of water and never leaders of the tribe, and did speak well of the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors who had believed these things.

And many said of the black man who would remain leader that he is a foreigner and not one of us and therefore verily should not be our leader.

But there were others in the tribe which looked down upon and scorned the white man who would be their leader and said of him that he knew not the truth and aspired to be all things to all men which meant he was cursed and would deliver no things to no men. Yea, also that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

So the people were asked to decide which of the two men should be their leader even unto another four years. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." And the people gathered together to do as they were bid.

And it came to pass that the people chose the black man, who was a poor man learned in the ways of the law; who had served the poor, the needy and the dispossessed; to try again to guide their tribe out of bondage to the promised land which, it was said by the prophets, overflowed with milk and honey.

Half of the people did rejoice crying Hallelujah and praise the Lord and glory to God in the highest.

Half of the people did weep and wail and gnash their teeth and beat their breasts and cry woe unto us.

And all of the people did remember the words of the prophet: "Verily I say unto you, a house divided against itself cannot stand."