Anyone who is around hummingbirds for any length of time discovers that they would rather fight than eat. We have a hummingbird feeder on our balcony, not (I admit) because I think they need food–our neighborhood is filled with delicious flowers–but because these extraordinary little creatures are so much fun to watch.
I’ll see a hummer land on our feeder, take a sip of sugar water, then immediately put his head up and look around, searching for a rival. I used to think this had something to do with guarding the food source, but now I’ve realized it’s because hummingbirds really ENJOY a good fight.
Soon two (or three) hummers are buzzing around, darting at each other, feinting and threatening, sometimes even telling each other off with that little "cht, cht" sound they make.
I’ve written before about why we humans are designed to make love, not war (even though we seem to be starting a new battle, somewhere, almost every day). But SOME people are more like hummingbirds–they relish a good fight and actively look for one.
Our Congress seems to be that way: While we suffer in the economic doldrums, they seem more interested in attacking the legislators on the opposite side of the aisle than in cooperating and getting something DONE.
So-called "religious" people often act like hummingbirds as well. While modern Christians have embraced the "ecumenical" movement (some of them, anyway), Muslims seem to be constantly at each other’s throats. The Sunnis hate the Shia and vice-versa, while the rest of us look on, bewildered. It’s almost as if the Methodists and Baptists decided to kill each other off because one of them sprinkles and other insists on immersion.
Some Muslims almost seem to be SPOILING for a fight. Hummers are happy when there’s another bird nearby to attack, almost as if they need an "excuse" to do it. Recent reactions to anti-Muslim propaganda, such as that internet film that nobody has seen, ended up with Muslims not only killing Americans, but killing EACH OTHER in the huge brawls that ensued.
Several recent newspaper editorials have made the point that other religions don’t have this extremist reaction to being made fun of. The hit play "The Book of Mormon" hasn’t sent Mormons out on jihad. The most common first line to a joke is, "A priest, a preacher and a rabbi went into a bar," but none of them seem to ever have taken offense to this. Jews make jokes about THEMSELVES, so other people don’t have to do it.
If everyone in the Muslim world had simply ignored that film (as almost all Americans and Europeans did–in fact, none of us ever heard of it until the trouble started), the killing wouldn’t have started. But an Egyptian newscaster discovered it and played it on Egyptian TV, igniting the flame. What in the world was his motivation? Sounds hummer-ish to me.
While I love hummers, I have to say that we’re never going to have peace in this world until we find another bird to emulate. Maybe we should copy crows or blue jays–they make a lot of noise, but they don’t DO anything about it.
Subscribers, to watch the subscriber version of the video, first log in then click on Dreamland Subscriber-Only Video Podcast link.