What’s Going On: Why the frog shouldn’t get mad at the scorpion

What's Going On

The fable’s origin remains unknown.

Some think it’s a version of one of the animal fables found in The Panchatantra, an Indian collection dated back to the mid-sixth century.

Others believe the fable first emerged in an Orson Welles film in the 1950s.

Either way, this week’s latest political “bombshell” made me think of the scorpion and the frog.

As the story goes, a frog and a scorpion are standing on a river bank. The scorpion asks the frog for a ride on his back as he swims across the river so he too can get to the side other side.

The frog, though, is wary and expresses his concern that the scorpion will, in fact, sting him.

But the scorpion promises otherwise, explaining if he did, they both would drown.

That made sense to the frog, so he hesitantly agrees to ferry the scorpion. And of course, halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. And while they are both drowning, heading to their shared watery grave, the frog asks the scorpion, “Why did you do it?”

“Because it’s my nature,” the scorpion responds.

Moral of the story: It’s absurd to expect a scorpion to change its nature, no matter the reason or motivation.

Donald Trump is a scorpion and this week, he stung an apparent thick-headed segment of the population.

This group of people, which includes most Democrats, all liberals, and many talking heads in the media, are outraged and appalled by Trump’s use of a rather common vulgarity in reference to Haiti and a handful of African third-world countries.

Apparently, the fact this comment was made privately, in a closed-door meeting and not necessarily for public consumption is irrelevant. Apparently, the president and all other elected leaders are expected to speak in a civilized, G-rated, distinguished manner at all times.

Ignoring that, I find myself bewildered by the shock and disdain shown by this what-should-have-never-been-publicized remark.

There is a stereotype of New York City folks: They are loud, obnoxious, crass, crude, and on occasion, vulgar. Donald Trump has, and always will, embrace and live up to that stereotype.

We knew that when he announced his candidacy. We knew that when Republicans chose him to be their standard bearer. We knew that when he got elected.

And he’s done nothing since then to disprove that tendency. There’s a long line of remarks he’s made in public (or at least on Twitter) that far outrank his s***hole country comment in the crude and crass department. Do we really expect anything different from him in his private conversations?

I’ve heard and read a lot of chest thumping the last couple days from the anti-Trump crowd about they refuse to accept and rationalize his behavior as “Donald being Donald.”

And that’s fine. If you don’t like how Trump acts, or speaks, don’t accept it. Find a candidate and support him or her in the next election and vote Trump out of office.

But don’t flip out when the scorpion stings you. It’s what he does and that’s not going to change. Expecting anything else is an exercise in futility.


Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at gorear@nujournal.com.