There were hives. Lots of hives. They were all over the Federation of Bee Hives.
The drones worked hard, collecting pollen and bringing it back to the hives and the queens would look upon their work and say that it was good. But both the queens and the drones of the southern hives had too much to do and the summers were so hot and humid that they needed help.
Then one day a ship arrived with African bees. The southern bees cheered and bought the African bees, queens, drones and all. The African bees were made to labor for the southern bees who forced them to work very hard. They weren’t paid for their work, and were given only enough to eat to stay alive. The African queen bees gave birth to baby bees and they were owned by the local bees, as well, so the free bee labor pool grew and grew, but the African bees suffered and were very unhappy.
One day a group of northern queen bees told the southern queen bees that what they were doing to the African bees was terrible and that they had to stop. The southern bees did not like being told what they could and could not do and became very angry. They said, “We have hive rights!”
Well, the talk became angrier and angrier and hatred grew. The southern bee queens and drones insisted that they needed the free African bee labor so that they could become even richer. At last they said they had had enough of northern bee judgments and northern bee demands on them. With that, they left the Federation of Bee Hives.
That caused a bee civil war and over 600,000 bees died in the fighting. The Federation was saved and the African bees were freed, but there wasn’t a single bee anywhere who didn’t feel the pain and sorrow of loss of their fellow bees. All of the bees vowed that such a thing would never happen again.
The years passed and the southern bee queens and drones gave way to new generations of bees. No bee then alive had a memory of the terrible suffering of that war of long ago and not a single bee could remember the vow their ancestors had made. Still, they carried with them the stories of how their bee ancestors were told what they could not do. That kept a fire of resentment buzzing in their bee hearts.
They also carried a disdain for the African bees still in their midst. Like their southern bee ancestors, they liked to think they were better than the African bees, so they did things to keep the African bees down. The southern bees liked the feelings of power and control that gave them. But little by little the northern bees put a stop to many of the bad things that were being done to the African bees. That served to amplify the buzzing of the southern bees over how much they disliked being told what they could and could not do.
Finally, one day the southern queen bee of the largest southern bee hive spoke up. She had no memory of the awful suffering of the past, or at least she acted that way, because she hinted that perhaps her hive should secede from the Federation of Bee Hives. She was very pretty, but most bees knew that she was nothing but a pollen head. Still, she had tapped in to the southern bee feelings of resentment, a resentment nurtured by generations of bees that liked to see themselves as victims and blame other bees for their suffering.
Then more southern bees began to speak of what they called “the good old days” when the southern bee hives left the Federation. Like the pretty queen bee who had spoken up, they refused to acknowledge the terrible suffering that all bees had endured because of that bee civil war of long ago. They paraded in funny bee hats and old southern bee war uniforms. They waved the flag of those old days of hive secession and buzzed with pride. Indeed, there were quite a few southern bees who became so puffed up with feelings of their power of resentment that their hairy bodies and especially their heads became quite swollen.
One day one of the swollen head southern bee drones said that he would stand for office to represent his hive in the Federation of Bee Hives. If he were to win his election he would have to swear an oath of allegiance with his bee leg on the Bee Bible, promising to protect and defend the Constitution of the Federation of Bee Hives. But he had openly declared that he was a member of a group calling for the southern hives to secede from the Federation again.
And no bee had any idea what had happened to bee integrity or even common bee sense. They only knew that they were trapped in a downward spiral of bee fear and bee hate.
Moral: Both the anger of victim-hood and the pride of self-righteousness lead to the same dark place. – JA
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.