Punxsutawney Phyllis and Election 2016
In America, people flock to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on February 2 every year and wait for Punxsutawney Phil, a legendary groundhog, to emerge from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob and tell us whether winter will linger or spring is near. This is Groundhog Day in America and Canada, and it has been celebrated since 1887.
If Phil sees his shadow and goes back in his hole, legend has it there will be six more weeks of winter. If he sees no shadow, spring is on its way. Whatever happens, the story is reported on television and in newspapers for all to enjoy.
But little has been said about another legend who lives nearby--Punxsutawney Phyllis, an ancient woman with long greasy gray hair, one big eye and chipped teeth. Kind neighbors call her a crone. Unkind neighbors call her other names.
Phyllis makes her home in a poison-ivy-covered hovel not far from Gobbler’s Knob. She becomes important once every four years during primary season before Americans go to the polls to elect a new president or return the incumbent to office.
Phyllis doesn’t care whether she sees her shadow or not when she comes out to fill her bucket at the well. She has potions to brew and is interested only in taking the water back to her house. But certain political pundits have visited her for years during primary season not to ask who will win the election but to ask what major issue will determine the winner of the election.
Although we have no confirmation as to its veracity, it is said that it was Phyllis who told James Carville, prior the election of President William Clinton, the major issue that would determine Clinton as the winner of that election.
Carville is still remembered today for saying what Phyllis is alleged to have whispered in his ear prior to chasing him off her property with the long broom some say she rides on Halloween.
“It’s the economy, stupid,” Phyllis supposedly said to Carville. So far no one has denied that statement originated with her.
Recently, a small group of reporters waited outside Phyllis’s hovel to ask her what big issue would determine the 2016 election. Phyllis is in her nineties now and not well but even when she was healthy, she was less than friendly. Nevertheless, when asked this year about the issue that would determine the 2016 election, she threw her head back and howled,
“It’s all about the wars, stupid, and whether the U.S needs more bombs to defend the nation and the world.”
The reporters asked her whether she thought more bombs were needed to repel, if necessary, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, remnant factions of Al Quaida, and other militant groups that create constant havoc in Asia, Africa and in pockets elsewhere in the world. It is commonplace for them to kidnap and rape women and children, behead prisoners, and wreck historical sites.
Phyllis looked to the sky again, threw her head back and howled that America has enough bombs and other armaments. And since the U.S. cannot build a high wall around the entire nation, the country needs instead several thousand exorcists willing to parachute into wars throughout the world and do what exorcists do best. Send devils back to Hell.
These aren’t devils who will come here looking for jobs and a better life. These are devils who will bomb the U.S. to pieces if they can or will come here furtively to savage American life from within. These devils need to be sent home now from those beleaguered nations around the world they currently terrorize.
So far no reports of Phyllis’s observations have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post or other newspapers. Nor has anything been said on radio, internet or TV news channels. Silence has greeted her prediction. At the end of the day, as so many people now like to say, perhaps we’ll find out on our own if Punxsutawney Phyllis is right again, as she may have been when she is said to have tipped off James Carville decades ago.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.