Editorial: Embarrassing Misuse of Ants in Louisiana

With our editor-in-chief in Louisiana, our thoughts have naturally turned to Louisiana and ants. We therefore stumbled upon this article reviewing several Louisianan politicians. This passage stood out:

Best in Show: Senate President John Alario.  He’s the most gifted person in Louisiana politics. I quote here the anonymous individual who nominated the unsinkable Republican leader of the state Senate: “Watching him with his Senate colleagues — and often, his House counterparts — is comparable to observing an ant communicate with his pals in the pile. He detects solutions (food) to problems in [obscure] places, recruiting his colleagues to follow him (leaving that chemical trail thing like those little biters do). Once there, he fights like hell to carry that golden nugget of solution to the Queen Ant, which — if you follow this metaphor — can be considered Louisiana. His nickname, ‘Yahweh,’ pretty much sums up his colleagues’ affection for him.”

It goes without saying that this ant metaphor, employed to push a politicized agenda, fails to rise above the usual stereotypes perpetuated by the vertebrate ruling class. The “anonymous individual” fails to recognize, in saying “his pals in the pile”, that the worker ants referred to are all female. After the offensive reference to “little biters”, this individual then promotes the usual image of ants as hyper-hierarchical, apparently unaware that many worker ants deliver food directly to the larvae or other worker ants, not just to the queen. And finally, perhaps most errant of all, the anonymous person suggests that the adulatory affection for Senate President Alario by his colleagues – to the level of calling him “Yahweh” (!) – is comparable to the ways of the ant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Such individualistic adoration is anathema in an ant colony, as the colony works together in a highly organized and functioning community.

Ants understand that personal ambition and fame should not supersede the concerns of their community. And, speaking of YHWH, this is what the Tanakh has to say about us:

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.