I’ve seen many humans in my lifetime, but I still don’t know much about them. Here’s what I do know:
They don’t have wings.
They do not fly.
They argue a lot.
I used to think that this was all that they amounted to, but boy was I wrong. I was fortunate enough to witness some of the most important events in their history and here’s how it all went down.
I was singing in my favorite branch one morning when I saw something very odd. There were dark humans who were working on a farm, I sat and watched them for a while. It intrigued me. They worked for almost ten hours without stopping, while the pale humans sat inside. Sometimes they would come outside and begin to shout.
I didn’t understand. How could a species so alike treat each other so differently? I decided I was going to spy on these humans and try and uncover their secrets. Maybe they weren’t quite as 2D as I thought.
The next day I flew into the city. I perched myself on the window of an official looking building. I was told (by my neighbor the squirrel) that this was where important people met to discuss certain topics. These people were called delegates or framers.
I had been living in this place for a long time, so I was there when these humans were at war with the people from across the water. I knew that their government was just being established. As I listened in, I learned that they had written a document called The Articles of Confederation. They were still figuring out from where the government’s power to rule should come. I wasn’t sure about the dark people working on the farm. Those people were called slaves, and they were very controversial… but more on that later.
In the hours that I contently sat and watched, there were two plans that were devised. The first was called: The Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan was a plan that said the government should be in three parts. These parts would be called branches. Why would they be called branches? Humans couldn’t fit on a branch; they would break it! Anyway, they wanted one branch to carry out the laws (Executive), one to make the laws (Legislative) and one to interpret and apply these laws (Judicial). They wanted the Legislative branch have two houses. These houses would be called the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The second plan was called: The New Jersey Plan. They wanted to have three branches as well. However, they only wanted the Legislative branch to have one house instead of two. They wanted each state to have an equal vote, whereas the other plan wanted the larger states to have more votes.
I have never seen a creature get quite as angry as some of these humans. They were deciding on the two plans. They argued and argued for hours, and I was somewhat tired of hearing it. These humans seemed to have trust issues. One human even yelled out
“I do not, gentlemen, trust you!”
This seemed very rude, but finally, after a very long time they put aside their anger and came to a decision. They decided that they would have two houses. The Congress and the House of Representatives. One was to represent the people and the other was to represent the states. The humans decided to call this The Great Compromise.
I still wondered about the dark-skinned people whom I saw working on the farm. Later, I realized that they could not function the same was as the pale people. There were many things that they were not allowed to do. Some people thought that they should be owned by the pale-faced people. Others did not. My favorite person to listen to was named Morris. He believed that the pale and the dark should be treated the same. One day he even said:
“Make them citizens and let them vote.”
I realized that this country was divided. One half had many slaves; the other did not. Benjamin Franklin (another one of my favorites) became president of an antislavery society. They even led a state to pass laws ending slavery.
Many people who had slaves were uneasy about it, but they relied so much on the slaves. Would they ever be able to function without them? I found out that the slaves were traded in a market. If a squirrel bought me, I would be very sad about this and would probably run away.
The dark faced people could not. If they were caught, they had to return to their masters where, many times, they were severely beaten. This was even made a law.
They also made another law. This law stated that when they were counting population, the slaves would not be counted as a person. They would only be counted as three-fifths of a person. This was called The Three-Fifths Compromise.
I returned to my tree that night very uneasy. I couldn’t understand how such cruelty was possible. For many years, the pale people fought about this. There was even an entire war. Finally slaves were no longer existent, and I rejoiced greatly. I still have a lot to learn about humans, and I think they have a lot to learn about themselves too. Humans are very complicated, but I love them, and I hope that one day I can befriend one. Until then, I will continue to watch these humans from my perch. Content and perfectly happy watching them find their way.
I believe there is good in each and every one of them. Some creatures (as well as other humans) just have to be brave enough to see it.