Anyone that made it through second grade knows that honeybees are vital to our food supply and thus, our very existence. It is no secret that over the past 30 years or so, the honeybee population has suffered. This is mostly due to increased pesticide usage. Farmers and pesticide companies have realized this problem and are working to correct it. Tests are being done to determine which pesticides can be safely used as to not engender more unnecessary bee deaths. Bees are the No. 1 source of pollination, and without them, the list of alternatives to proper pollination is minuscule, and it would require something entirely new to effectively pollinate our plants so that we will have the food that our farmers need to produce.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there was a very serious disorder called Colony Collapse Disorder that would wipe out entire colonies of bees quickly and completely. It seems to have been due to a parasite called Nosema ceranae. Pesticides kill the bees that come in contact with it, while the parasite is transmitted by the infected bees. In recent years, Colony Collapse Disorder has waned, and some scientists say that this particular problem is no longer the threat that it was. However, the population of honeybees is still in decline, and even though it is good to know that people are being responsible about this phenomenon, it is still a serious problem.
One of the funny things about Colony Collapse Disorder was that the bees in the surrounding areas did not come and plunder the food from the collapsing colony. They will do this if a colony is merely decreasing or weakened by weather or something natural. It seems that the neighborhood bees intuitively know when there is something going on that could be harmful to them.
Animals are intuitive, and in many cases work well together. Have you seen the shows about animals that work together on episodes of “Our Planet” and other such programs? It will show how schools of fish will work together to ward off attacks by sharks or cormorants and other predators. These can be successful overall, while even still incurring a major loss to the school.
In the Midwest, flocks of blackbirds will fly in a tight group, looking like a plume of smoke in the air. They fly up, down and around as one entity. There are many examples of this in nature.
Now, all of this leads me to believe that politics has very little intuition and even less will to heal itself as an institution. Bipartisanship has met several viruses that seem to be without an antidote. Throughout history, we know that there have been mass extinctions of animals due to mostly climactic causes. It is generally accepted that a large meteor wiped out the large dinosaurs, sparing only the smaller animals who needed a more reasonable food supply. They were able to muddle through until the effects of the meteor diminished, allowing for more plant growth and eventually more animal production, thus leading to a more balanced ecosystem.
Politics has endangered itself, and it is the fault of both parties and those who blindly vote along party lines. If a person crosses the aisle to vote with the other party on an issue, he or she is generally called out on this by his or her own party. This can cause problems in the next primary election where more strident members of that party use this spirit of cooperation against the incumbent for being a “traitor” to their own party. This is nonsense. If there is a cause that can be favorable to the people of the state, it should be encouraged and nurtured. Of course there will be differences of opinion, but bipartisan approval would ensure that the best available resources and common sense were included in the final product.
I can think of two recent examples that show how parties ran things through without bipartisan approval, leading to fractures that will take years to heal. The Democrats pushed through the Affordable Care Act without any discernible Republican support. The Republicans were so enraged that they never once tried to help improve ACA; instead, they have spent the past 10 years working to dismantle it, including the parts that are worthwhile and manageable. The recent tax acts by the Republicans engendered a similar response by the Democrats. Now, we use partisanship to either block or confirm Supreme Court justices who may or may not have the common sense and honesty to make a proper ruling on an important issue. If parties think that lack of bipartisanship furthers their cause, they are wrong.
Political parties are now so single minded that they swoop in for the kill without regard to long term repercussions. It is true that the political pendulum eventually swings back to favor the other party when the excesses of the party in power become too unpalatable for the majority; but by then, the damage has already been done.
We can all learn a lesson from the bees. If the other party is in Colony Collapse Disorder, it might be wise for the party in power to avoid totally destroying the sickened colony, lest they become infected themselves.