Shark Jumping! – A Conventional Strategy for the Side with Stomach (Guest Voice)
Shark Jumping! – a conventional strategy for the side with stomach
by Kip Zimmerman
With the onset of the Republican Convention now rained-out by Tropical Storm Isaac, we are all forced to bate our collective breaths one more day before being regaled by the biggest pep-rally Super-Pac dollars can buy. Of course, the RNC will put on a polished, meticulously organized show as always, and has a big-name lineup planned with speakers ranging from Chris Christie to Marco Rubio and even Condoleeza Rice. And it will be no surprise to see many of Romney’s former foes appear to voice their newfound love for the nominee. Conspicuously absent from this convention’s dais, as in the last, will be any of the still-living former Republican residents of the White House. That’s right – with the possible exception of Jeb, no Bushes will speak, nor by extension, any Cheneys or Quayles. Incidentally, we also won’t be hearing from anyone named Gingrich, but that’s barely worth mentioning.What does bear mention is the fact that this convention, along with the Democratic one coming a week later, will play a huge role in determining a race that many still don’t seem to realize is way too close to call. And those howling winds in the Carribbean ought to be enough to remind us to pay heed whenever Florida decides to get involved in politics. Now, conventions may only be remembered as nomination-Thunderdomes by those of us who are still a little leery of the Interwebs, but they do yet provide a unique window into not only how the parties think, but more importantly, how they want us to think they think.
Conventions also give each party’s marketing arms (read: Super PACs) a golden opportunity to get their message out to their target audiences. And based on how well they produce the whole shebang, each candidate can expect poll-number bumps of between 3-5 points. In a race with narrower leads and greater margins of error, it’s simple logic that the difference might just lie in how these next two weeks of vaudevillian antics pan out.
Ridiculous you say? Too many serious issues for it all to be decided by mere production values? Okay, but which ones separate one guy from the other? Militarily, Obama’s done a pretty good job of not coming off like some pansy, peacenik liberal, and has even been a little bit ruthless. Lots of people have strong feelings about Obamacare, but there’s no getting around that Romneycare was basically the same thing. As for the Economy, at this point, it’s pretty clear that at best, everyone’s just guessing; and in any case, it hasn’t been good or bad enough to give either side a clear edge. Ultimately, this race will likely come down to a few percentage points among the usual suspects of swing states.
To charge this breach, Obama has made some strong moves this year to address issues particular to specific groups such as gay-marriage, immigration, and support for Israel, while Mitt has been securing the conservative base and reaching out to younger voters with the choice of Paul Ryan as running mate. But one demographic neither candidate has yet courted, the one key issue that neither guy has addressed, is that of the greatest threat to our homeland this side of Chinese drywall – Sharks!
Don’t laugh. Outside some “October Surprise”, what else is going to move the needle in this race?
Super-PACs can only run so many negative ads before they jump the shark and turn off the voters they want to attract. So, with not much time left, either guy could take a serious bite by getting out in front on this, particularly in key tossup states like Virginia, North Carolina, and FLORIDA, whose combined 58 electoral votes would basically wrap it up for either candidate.
Besides, the nascent Shark-Problem dovetails nicely with many voters’ religious convictions – after all, God gave Man dominion over ALL the beasts of the earth, including all the creatures of the sea. Nowhere in there did he carve out any shark exemption, and not allowing ourselves to be terrorized by these salty, soulless abominations of the deep is really our spiritual duty as God’s children. Yea, it is a downright moral imperative that we rid the Earth of this threat and enact a Final Shark Solution. It’s the right thing to do, and high time to do it.If you think I’m overreacting to a few sensationalist headlines and dramatic Shark Week imagery that gave me nightsweats, you might have a point. But hear me out. Some of my best friends are animals, and it would be one thing if the sharks simply came here to peacefully visit and hang out like any of the other fish we often welcome here, but that’s simply not the case. Instead, they show up uninvited, with bad attitudes, looking for a free lunch. They almost always make a huge commotion, upset decent, law-abiding Americans, and show absolutely zero remorse for the havoc they create.
Plus, let’s not forget, most of these sharks weren’t even born here. They come from the deep seas – out in international waters. And these…Illegal Aquarians…disturb our peace, attack our citizens, and exploit our resources. And don’t for a second think it’s only fish and the occasional surfer’s foot…these wet-fronts have so infiltrated our society that they even have a powerful political lobby! Think I’m joking? Well, this might be funny if only it weren’t so damn serious. Everyone hears all the pro-shark propaganda about how we abuse and displace these poor, beautiful creatures, but did you also know that untold millions of our tax-dollars are spent on entitlement programs for sharks? That’s right – maintenance of protected shark sanctuaries, no-fish zones, shark hospitals, and even shark-feeding programs, fer cryin’ out loud!
Yup, Nature’s most perfect eating and killing machine; the one creature on the planet that has zero fear of us, and we humans, in our ultimate brilliance, have decided to not only provide government housing and healthcare for ‘em, but we’ve basically set up soup kitchens for the few sharks who actually aren’t able to kill all they can eat. Now, I don’t want to label all shark-helping humans as “Species Traitors”, but when it comes to Natural Selection, you’re either with us or against us.I’m not kidding! As far as sharks are concerned, this whole thing ain’t over yet. Lions, bears, alligators, elephants – pretty much everything else knows not to piss us off, but sharks seem to have a whole different take on things. I guess they feel like after already having outlasted dinosaurs, how scared do they really need to be of us. And really, if you think about it, all they need to do is hold on for now – and they’re maybe just a mutation or two away from taking over…
And of course, the biggest shark-sympathizers are always the ones who’ve been attacked. That’s right: bite-victims often become sharks-rights activists! People who have lost entire limbs to random shark attacks, who have been permanently maimed for no other reason than being shiny and delicious, have perhaps the most perverse-strain of Stockholm Syndrome imaginable. Now, usually I try not to judge people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome – mainly because it reminds me of most of my romantic relationships. But really, this is like a 9/11 victim’s family member fighting to build a mosque at ground zero. Okay, maybe not. But it’s at least like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.
This trend has gotten so bad, that one show complaining of our cruel inhumanity to sharks actually featured several breeds of shark which are “Nearly Threatened”. Not Extinct, Endangered, or even actually Threatened, mind you, but now we’re even supposed to feel bad about the ones that are “Nearly Threatened”? Fish, please.
It’s time to take the flippers off and stop feeling bad for sharks! These “Hyenas of the Sea” are some sort of demon-creatures which are neither fish nor mammal…they breathe through gills, like fish, but give birth to live young, like mammals. Now, this is not totally proven, or backed up by any reliable or even shoddy data, but they are apparently born live just so they may commence killing as early as possible. Newborn sharks obviously don’t nurse, but charmingly get plenty of nutrition by killing and feeding on their own siblings, at least until they’re big enough to take on a baby seal or three.
Look, we take out species all the time. Every year, another whopping 25,000 creatures become completely extinct, wiped-out, purged from the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. In most cases, it’s a terrible thing. But every now and then; maybe, just maybe… it’s not. Most creatures have some redeeming traits; heck, even pitbulls can be sweet and cuddly…for awhile. Lions and bears can be tamed and taught to do tricks if you get ‘em young enough. But sharks? Forget it. Make no mistake, there will never, ever be: “The story of a boy and his shark”, that doesn’t somehow involve loss of limbs and blood in the water.
It would be one thing if there were some other positive contribution sharks were making, but even their strongest advocates (usually the ones with the biggest bite-wounds) can only come up with “sharks help control the fish population”. Seriously, in an age when we, mankind, are overfishing the seas to point where there may not be any fish left for our grandkids to eat, are we really concerned that the oceans will become overpopulated with fish if we don’t have enough sharks? Really though, that’s their best argument. Nevermind that sharks are our biggest competitors for seafood, or that we have huge shortages of food for humans all over the globe, let’s make sure not to hurt the very important sharks.
Modestly, I propose that we could kill at least two “birds” with one spear. Eliminate our closest competitor and increase our food supply. And it’s not just two birds – there are other uses for sharks too. We all know the fins are a delicacy, but did you know that shark skin also makes a better abrasive than sandpaper? Plus, it also can be used in place of leather, and as apex predators, their blood is an excellent source of mercury. Ok, I mostly made the last one up, but let’s get creative about this!
C’mon, there must be a thousand uses for shark. We could… pile ‘em up on the Mexican border to buttress the Fence. Shoot, let’s grind ‘em up into a slurry and feed it to dolphins – give them a real taste for shark. The one thing sharks do seem to fear is dolphins, so let’s get that working for us and turn Flipper into a shark-hungry defender of our shores. And whatever’s left over, we’ll turn into fuel! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of drilling into the earth’s crust and polluting what’s still left of our natural environment, we could simply cast nets for those evil, swimming mouth-holes and turn every one of those god-forsaken devil-fish into high-octane Sharkohol? Life gives you Lemonsharks, make Lemonshark-ade. Fill ‘er up!
Seriously, with Bin Laden gone, the head of the snake is dead and the “war” against Al-Qaeda has now transitioned into a mopping-up operation of splinter groups. North Korea, Iran, and a turbulent Middle East represent threats, but more to our interests abroad than to Americans here in the homeland. Strange as it may now seem, the biggest future foreign threats to Americans at home will be; 1) defective Chinese imports, followed closely by B) the terror wreaked by these godless Illegal Aquarians. Maybe we’re not quite ready to take out the Chinese just yet, but, if I’m a fisherman struggling to make ends meet, or even just a beachcomber who’s on the fence, then having safe, non-shark-infested waters to swim and dive and surf in just might be enough to get me to put on some flip-flops and go vote.
So, what should they promise us? Federal funding for shark-“control” would be a start. Whether we subsidize shark-“culling”, use trained attack dolphins or just sic some underwater drones on ‘em, it doesn’t really matter. Let “Kill, baby Kill!” be our rallying cry, and let’s stop at nothing to get the job done. Not all immigrants looking to legalize can go to college or join the military. But go kill some sharks and maybe we’ll talk about it. I’m just thinking out loud here, but let’s say, bag five – get a work permit, ten more – a drivers license, net a hundred – Bam! There’s your Greencard. And thanks for keeping America’s coastlines safe.
As a child, in the car on the way to the beach we asked our parents if we should be scared of Jaws. Of course, they laughed and told us not to worry, because there were nets put out that kept the sharks away from the beach. Nevermind the flawed logic, we were children and all too happy to buy whatever assurances of safety our parents were dishing out.But of course, there were never really any nets. And while we were probably statistically “safe”, it’s not like there was anything but good odds protecting us from getting munched on. But nowadays, with fewer fish in warmer seas, the “natural shark cycle” has produced record numbers of shark attacks both here and abroad. And this “Shark Problem”, which has been getting worse and worse for years, has now reached a crisis point that demands strong leadership and action. What America needs now, more than ever, is a Coastal Security Candidate.
Think I’m overreacting? Still think this isn’t a serious issue? Well, just think about this: Scientists with the Florida Marine Wildlife Conservation Group have recently discovered the true reason why sharks often display their dorsal fin and circle before attacking – we taste much better once our bowels have cleared. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the sharkfin soup. Don’t forget to tip your waitstaff.