The Bird and the Wolf

by Norman Horowitz

Last week, Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, denounced the “Occupy Wall Street” protests as “mobs,” and Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, charged demonstrators with “trying to take away the jobs of people working in this city.”

Cantor’s net worth is approximately $4.8 million. Bloomberg is worth $20 billion.

Cantor spent his childhood at the elite Collegiate School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the annual tuition is $37,500. He then attended George Washington University, where the annual cost is $58,148. He received a Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School, where the annual cost is $52,000. He also holds a Master’s in Real Estate Development from Columbia University, where the annual cost is approximately $54,000.

Bloomberg didn’t have an upbringing as privileged as Cantor’s, but he did attend Johns Hopkins University, where the annual tuition is $40,680, followed by Harvard Business School, where the annual cost is a whopping $84,000.  

In the Broadway play Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye sings:

Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
 I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
 But it’s no great honor either!
 So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?

Of course, by accident of birth, Eric Cantor is not Tevye.

Yet the ever-humble Cantor is critical of what he calls “the mobs” and “the pitting of Americans against Americans.”

Sadly, Cantor never learned humility. He found himself on third base and assumed that he had hit a triple.

Van Gordon Sauter produced a series for MGM and NBC about 25 years ago. At a celebratory dinner for the senior NBC people, he told the following story that he called “The Legend of the Bird and the Wolf”:

A bird was trying to reach its nest in a horrid blizzard. The bird grew weaker and more exhausted, until finally it landed in a snow drift.

A peasant in an ox cart saw this and pulled up near the dying bird. The ox did what oxen do: It deposited a pile of steaming dung, so the peasant scooped out a place for the bird in the dung and went along his way.

Warmed by his surroundings, the bird realized that he was not to die that day and started to happily chirp.

A hungry wolf heard the bird and promptly ate it.

Here are the morals from that story:

  • He who puts you into “shit” doesn’t necessarily mean you harm.
  • He who removes you from “shit” doesn’t necessarily mean you well.
  • But most important: If you find yourself in “shit,” for goodness sake, be quiet about it!

The privileged Eric Cantor should just be quiet when it comes to those who have not shared his positions of money, power, and education. Sadly, he won’t.