• Emerging Voices

American Rhino



Check the online definition. You learn a rhinocerous is a large, heavily built  mammal with one or two horns on its nose and thick folded skin. You discover that all rhinoceroses are endangered. However, before getting upset at the possibility of their extinction, consider first who and where they are.


Right now, a large herd of them is to be found in the United States Senate. They can be seen huddled together, mostly male with a few females stuffed into their mass, watching a woman tell the truth about her sexual assault by one of their fellow rhinos. Their snouts lift upwards, they sniff the political winds, they lower their massive heads and snort untruths about her whilst defending their accused member. He's a good rhino, they insist; such a well educated beast would never harm a lady; he was only playing rhino games like we all do, but his hooves got a bit heavy. Snort, snort, he's all right and she's lying. Snort, snort, let him drink at our watering hole;  leave her outside in the heavy weather.



Keep watching as they snuffle their way through questions by the press; as they enlist the head rhino's press secretary to bray about how no one, least of all head rhino himself, is mocking the accuser; as they whisper reassurances to one another that elevating the accused to a position of high honour is only right for he is, verily, the very essence of rhinodom. He's even better than many of them at appearing dainty when he crushes someone under him. And when he's angry, his rage is magnificent to behold, righteous and wreckless and thrilling in its disregard of truth.

Listen as the largest rhino of all, he of strange orange skin and hair, has the last bellow. "My fellow creatures", he roars, demanding apologies for hurting one of his herd, "you made the mistake of naming what should never be named, wounding one of our finest beasts. Never again question the power of one who demonstrates how easy  to move to the front of the herd. You pulverise whoever gets underfoot."


Note: sadly, honourable non-elected rhinoceroses are an endangered species. This is not meant to disparage their magnificent being.


-Rose Levinson

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