One of the first things I remember learning in 4th grade science was that some animals have spinal cords, and some don’t. Animals with spines are called Vertebrates, and animals without spines are called Senate Republicans.
Animals without spinal cords, or backbones, can also be called Invertebrates. Most of the creatures on this planet — over 97 percent — fall into this category. Invertebrates include insects, spiders, worms, jellyfish, sea urchins, snails, clams, corals and squid, just to name a few.
Honestly, I feel kinda bad for invertebrates. The spinal cord is a remarkable evolutionary development. The upper spine allows our brains to control our thirst, our hunger, our body temperature, and our breathing. It also controls whether Lindsay Graham dissolves into screaming hysterics during a Senate hearing.
The spinal column includes some 220 individual ligaments and over 120 muscles. This makes the spine surprisingly strong. Exactly the kind of strength you’d expect to see when the President calls your wife ugly and accuses your dad of killing John Kennedy. Unless you’re Ted Cruz. His complete lack of strength in that moment leads me to believe he is, in fact, spineless. See?
Okay, this isn’t actually Ted Cruz. This is a sea cucumber. But I doubt that sea cucumber’s father would give it such harsh side-eye for refusing to defend him like Ted’s dad did.
Speaking of spineless animals, here’s Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Oops! Those are leeches. This is actually Matt Gaetz, after he was arrested for DUI in Florida.
I guess his constant sucking up to Trump made me momentarily confused. And honestly, that’s not fair to leeches. Even leeches play an important role in a pond ecosystem.
I suppose I’m biased when it comes to animals that have spines because I’m one of them. Maybe I should cut these spineless animals some slack. Maybe being spineless can be cool, too.
Nope. I was wrong. Nothing cool about that.
Does the spine hold the most important bones in the human body? Maybe…maybe not. But the spine is the most important bone in the body politic. As James Baldwin once famously said: “A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people. It is not necessary that people be wicked, but only that they be spineless.”
Or as I famously said, just now: a Vertebrate in the streets, an Invertebrate in the Senate.