Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO5) couldn’t have known when he first waded into Colorado politics over a decade ago that he would wash ashore on Lilliput. Such seems to be the case, however. As you remember, Jonathan Swift created two fictional islands in his 1726 classic, Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput and Blefuscu. No disproof having been established, one assumes that both islands are, still today, located in the South Indian Ocean, separated by a channel 800 yards in width, and inhabited by people “not six inches high.” More to the point for the purpose of current politics: When a shipwrecked and still asleep Lemuel Gulliver washed up on the shores of Lilliput and was captured by little people who tied him down before he awoke, he discovered that the two islands were permanently at war over the correct way to eat a boiled egg. Still today, the inhabitants of Blefuscu are firmly convinced the correct way to eat a boiled egg is to start at the rounded end. The Lilliputians are equally convicted that, still today, no civilized person eats a boiled egg any way except sharp end first.
Though Gulliver is a giant compared to the Lilliputians, he does not return their hostility in kind, but rather helps to aid them in various ways before, for no other reason than his refusal to take part in their selfish perfidies, he again earns their fickle and shallow scorn.
Naïve people here in Colorado sometimes refer to Lilliput as the El Paso County Republican Party, but we really should get into the habit of calling places and people by their proper names. The little people in Lilliput are particularly active these days, doing their best to tie up Congressman Gulliver -- er, Lamborn -- before he permanently awakes and takes to himself for many years to come the title of Congressman, a title which the Lilliputians believe rightfully belongs only to a Lilliputian.
The chief Lilliputians in Lilliput these days are one Mr. Jeff Crank and one retired General Bentley Rayburn. To be sure, both are accomplished men by Lilliputian standards; indeed, they appear to know it. Gulliver is equally accomplished and, refreshingly, doesn’t appear to know it. More to the point, by the standards that Gulliver considers genuinely meaningful and which are in truth the only things that can turn a Lilliputian into a Giant -- old-fashioned notions that include courageous loyalty to true principles and good men above one’s personal ambitions, and doing the right thing and telling the truth even when it’s not popular, and doing it for a long time -- it appears Gulliver is, still today, as lonely as he was in 1726.
The Leading Lilliputians are currently squabbling over who is justified in taking on Gulliver in a primary next year. One says it is properly he because -- well, that’s never been entirely clear. Part of it must be a result of his having come so close to beating Gulliver two years ago. As for the rest of it -- well, perhaps he eats the round end of the egg first.
The other Leading Lilliputian and his Supporting Lilliputians say he’s a general, and thus a true leader. The question as to why a true leader would challenge an incumbent Giant like Gulliver -- remember, a Giant is not necessarily someone who is popular, but someone who does what is right and tells the truth, and has for a long time -- does not appear to have yet been posed in Lilliput.
To cap things off, if a newspaper article on Sept 19 was any indication, it appears the Leading Lilliputians are so hostile to Gulliver that they may have overcome their own mutual antipathies long enough to make something of a Gentle-Lilliputian’s agreement: if either is behind in the polls close to election day, that one will drop out of the race. “There is no formal agreement,” mind you – personal interests are not to be sacrificed until it’s clear there is really nothing to be sacrificed and fulfillment of spite toward Gulliver becomes the only remaining objective. “It’s not going to be my ego that causes [Gulliver] to get re-elected,” one Lilliputian said.
The next day, the other Lilliputian’s supporters were again assaulting both his rival and Gulliver for only the vaguest of reasons: “[Gulliver] was not a leader in the (state) legislature, and he won’t be in Washington,” one said. “And [the opposing Lilliputian] has nothing to set him aside, nothing of stature.” Translation: we don’t like Gulliver and the other Lilliputian eats his boiled eggs pointed end first.
So what does our modern-day congressional Gulliver do amidst these Lilliputians? What Gulliver has always done. “[Gulliver’s] campaign said they had no comment,” the latter story reports. He faithfully continues his accustomed course in the world and in the halls of national government, praying for the welfare of the Lilliputians even in their spite toward him. It’s safe to assume Gulliver realizes life and politics in Lilliput are, still today, fickle, and not likely to change any time soon.