The Plight of the Giant Swan
I was traveling recently in our nation's capital. During my visit, I had the opportunity to swing by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, located on the south side of the Tidal Basin.
The Jefferson Memorial is one of several prominent landmarks that form a ring along the shoreline of the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
(Parenthetically, the statue of Jefferson, the archetypical Democratic-Republican, stares out from his Memorial across the Tidal Basin at the imposing Washington Monument. Of course, George Washington was a die-hard Federalist, and he and Thomas Jefferson were political rivals. Forevermore, Jefferson must gaze upon his rival's monumental Monument from within the relatively dinky confines of his quaint, humble Memorial.)
As you know, Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, which informed Britain's King George III how the American colonists felt about his awful, oppressive tyranny. Jefferson wrote:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
As I stood within the Memorial, looking up at Jefferson's visage, all cerebral and bronzy, I pondered anew these inspiring words. I turned and walked down the steps toward the Tidal Basin. Reflecting on Equality and Liberty as I approached the shoreline, I could hear the gentle waves slapping against the embankment. I lifted my eyes to look across to the Washington Monument—and that's when I saw it. An act of barbaric cruelty so monstrous, I couldn't process it at first.
Folks, I looked on horrified as I realized a father and his child were sitting atop a rare Giant Swan (Cygnus gargantuum). They appeared to be seated in some sort of low-slung saddle between her folded wings. The man was mercilessly kicking the Giant Swan high up in the unfortunate creature's back, alternately stomping her with his left foot, then his right foot: left, right, left, right, left, right!
A perfectly serene setting in our nation's capital, marred only by one vile example of unspeakable animal abuse.
With each savage blow, the Giant Swan reacted by propelling her tormentors ever forward. Kick after kick, and all the while the father and child were actually chatting and laughing nonchalantly! Despite what must have been crippling pain from the unending kicks, the noble bird did not once cry out. She resolutely held her graceful head and neck high, as if oblivious to her suffering.
I won't speak for you, friends, but I found the whole scene completely unbelievable, even though I saw it with my own eyes. And then I took a picture, so I could share what I saw with you.