Inauguration 2017, the fate of our scorpion-elect and our democracy: an updated fable

scorpionimageThe fate of President-elect Donald J. Trump and democracy, explained by the Greek storyteller, Aesop, with a 21st-century update:


A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream, and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?”

The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out. In midstream, the scorpion stings the frog.

The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp, “Why?”

The scorpion replies, “It’s my nature.”


As Inauguration Day looms, we’re almost halfway across the stream. America has cut a risky deal with its Scorpion-elect.

Many individuals, groups and ideals have tried crossing the stream with him — political rivals, the media, common decency — and he has stung them all.

Somehow the scorpion proved Aesop wrong, surviving every time.

But there is hope. The fable has been revised.


. . . In midstream, just as the scorpion is about to sting the frog (cue dramatic music!) a southern grasshopper mouse appears between them. The scorpion stings the mouse over and over.

But the mouse is immune to the venom and kills the scorpion. The frog and mouse make it to the other side.

Catching its breath, the grateful frog gasps, “Why did you kill the scorpion?”

The mouse replies, “It’s my nature.”


Yes, the southern grasshopper mouse is a natural predator of scorpions. Not only is it immune to a scorpion’s sting, the venom actually acts as a painkiller, enabling the mouse to kill the scorpion.

Which brings us to our Scorpion-elect. His venom — the lies, the predatory behavior, the hateful words — will be his undoing. It may require some timely intervention, but it will happen.

When it does, there will be schadenfreude, elation. Perhaps there will be a trace of sympathy. But that will pass, as will the pain and memory of his sting.

Mostly there will be relief.

The frog and the grasshopper mouse, safely on the other side of the stream, will survive.

It’s their nature.




About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in Politics, stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Inauguration 2017, the fate of our scorpion-elect and our democracy: an updated fable

  1. Clever, appropriate and a moral = a perfect modern day fable. What time is the next story hour?


  2. Mary Kane says:

    Jim what Wasn’t revealed in the story was that the frog was quite colorful and beautiful… and poisonous… so maybe the scorpion was just protecting itself. Maybe part of Aesop’s message is to be wary of what we think is a harmless choice. In it’s deception of beauty the frog was really the danger, it can be easy to immediately mistrust the old scary dangerous looking scorpion who’s bite is usually worse than it’s sting. Now I’m not saying that one shouldn’t be wary of the scorpion as well as the frog (or the mouse hanging in the shadows) BUT there are two valid sides to every story, even three sides, 4 , 5, more– you get the picture. I try not to get political on social media. But I posted on Facebook a repost recently of a message of respecting each person’s opinion, moving forward with respect and refraining from name calling or lumping people in categories during this time of change and transition. Here’s to a peaceful transition, hopefully positive changes for the benefit of every American will unfold. I love you Jimmy! (Warts and all!) just kidding. Now can you help me over this puddle….:)❤Peace!


    • Jim McKeever says:

      Mary, thanks for all that. I had never heard that other version of the fable. The only other version I’ve heard includes a stork on the other bank, a danger to the frog. That’s why the frog agrees to the scorpion’s request. As for what is about to happen in this transition, I don’t share your optimism about what is to come. Nothing about this is normal. The man himself is not normal, and has proven it many times. He is a sexual predator, a pathological liar and a conman. Yes, I’m name-calling. But I call it as I see it. I’m Irish. His cabinet choices are largely dangerous, unqualified, venal people. I fear for our climate, for world peace, for the future of our country, and especially anyone who is not white, male, straight and Christian. That’s why I’ll be in DC on Saturday. Not Friday. The rules have changed, Mary, and we have to fight to make sure the rights of others aren’t trampled — especially if the trampling results feathering the already full financial nests of his cronies. So, if you still want me to help you over that puddle, I’m here, warts and all. See you on St. Baldrick’s Day, if not before. Love you, birthday pal.


  3. cat9984 says:

    Awesome story. I like the moral. I didn’t know that about the southern mouse (I didn’t know there was such an animal) Possible fodder for Cheeseland


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