Once upon a time there was a lovely little Farm. It was a happy little place where the animals lived together in harmony. The animals living on the Farm were of the normal farm variety:

• There were a lot of Sheep on the Farm: they were complacent and followed instructions without complaint. The Sheep would never consider questioning authority – they were happy to do as they were told.

 • The Cows thought that they were above everything and were quite happy to stand in their nice cornfield and eat and socialize. The Cows would often get together and criticize the other Farm animals, but that was their way of maintaining their own feeling of superiority over the others, so the other animals just ignored them.

• The Chickens ran around and squawked a lot, especially when someone took their eggs, but in the end they just wanted a nice place to nest so as long as they were allowed into the chicken coop at night they were happy. They still squawked, but that was all.

• The Pigs, as pigs are, were an intelligent and sociable group. They had their own way of living which was comfortable and necessary to them and they did not care if others wanted to live differently.

• Two Dogs lived on the Farm, and they were always willing to follow instructions, especially if it meant nipping at the heels of the other animals and getting the Chickens riled up.

• There were a few Horses on this Farm and they did most of the hard work. They shared a pasture with the Cows. They had little respect for the Cows and Bulls, but tolerated them and pretty much stayed to themselves and pursued their own hobbies.

Then, along came a Bull who wanted to be Somebody. As The Bull was just another bull he knew that in order to Be Somebody he would have to start small and work his way up. But he was in a hurry.

The Bull decided that in order to Be Somebody he would change the entire Farm and thus show the world that he was the “Go To” Bull. “Go To” for what, you may ask. Well, I don’t know for sure, but the Bull was known for bullying so that was probably what you would go to him for.

The Bull had a plan. There were foreign Pigs and Horses invading the village and all of the other farms. Many of these foreigners had sneaked into the country and had no legal right to be there. They were taking the other animal’s jobs, using the village hospitals and schools, and generally making a nuisance. The Bull had a plan. He would tell the other animals that if they would make him emperor of the Farm he would drive the illegal foreigners out. When the illegal foreigners were driven out there would be no more crime, the schools would be excellent, property values would escalate, and the Farm would be perfect. Then other farms would notice the wonderful brave Bull and would want him to be emperor of the entire village, then the country, then the world!

The Bull could not do this alone. He would have to have help. But he had to be very careful of the help. He could not stand to have another Bull on his team, because there was only room for one Bull, and that was him. Cows were okay, because they deferred to the Bulls, but they were not Bulls. Horses were too busy working, and besides that, although they shared the pasture the horses did not show the proper respect. He could use some of the more vocal Chickens and knew that if he threw a little corn their way every once in a while some of them would squawk to his tune. And even if they disagreed with him all they would do is squawk, and their constant squawking would be useful. Pigs were out. They were too intelligent and valued their independence way too much. In fact, the Pigs as well as the Horses would have to be dealt with quickly and severely.

That left the Sheep. Ah, thought the Bull, the Sheep ….. Perfect! Sheep will do everything they are told. They do not like to question and they want to be led around and be told what to do, what to think, what to feel. I will pick 5 Sheep that will do my bidding, and the other Sheep will follow along.

So the Bull convinced the animals to make him emperor of the Farm. The first thing the Bull and his 5 Sheep did was try to drive the foreigners out, because by doing that he could Make a Name for Himself. Uh oh – the Bull had miscalculated the resistance he would receive. (This was the Bull’s first experience with animals who did not hang on to every word he said.) Some of the Pigs and Horses, and even some Sheep and Chickens, pushed back. They went to the Village and complained. The Village elders stopped the Bull from banishing the foreigners from the Farm, because that was not within the Bull’s authority. That public relations stunt cost the Farm a lot of money but the Bull didn’t care because it Got Him Noticed, and that’s all he really wanted anyway.

But the Bull wasn’t worried – he had another plan all along. He could care less about the foreigners: he had a business that depended on the foreigner’s money and the Bull was not stupid enough to bite the hand that fed him. The real goal was to change the entire Farm to his liking, and thereby Be Noticed Some More. He decided that he wanted to live in an Upscale Farm, but he did not want to move from the Farm where he had grown up, which was just comfortable middle-class.  Besides that, he had friends on the Farm that he could help out. By doing this his stature would surely raise, his friends would admire him, and he could relive his glory days when he was a star athlete on a losing team. Oh – but that’s another story.

Ah – now the Bull was ready. He took his 5 Sheep on a tour of the Farm. “Look”, he said “Those Horses are eating the same grass that our Cows want. They are standing in our shade. They are drinking our water. Our Farm should have only Cattle: well, and Sheep. And the Horses perform manual labor – if they want improvements made around the Farm they Do It Themselves. And look at the Pigs. They are so nasty. Not at all like me. They also look very happy and independent. One look at their homes and you can see that we do not want them on our Farm. We cannot have that.”

“I want this Farm to be Upscale, where the Cows and Sheep graze peacefully in verdant gardens. I want every animal in this Farm to be Just Like Me. Think of the scene: bucolic pastures with fluffy white sheep and sleek Cows grazing peacefully. That’s what I want.”

So the Sheep, as sheep do, agreed. They were enjoying being in the Bull’s shadow, as they thought it gave them prestige over the other sheep. So they begged the Bull to tell them what they could do to help him achieve his goals.

“Well” said the Bull, “first we will convince the animals that we need this Farm to look beautiful. Crime does not happen in a beautiful Farm. Property values rise in a beautiful Farm. The schoolchildren thrive in a beautiful Farm. We will make this Farm beautiful by planting Roses and building fountains, and painting all our utility boxes with a new logo and replacing our street signs with prettier ones.” So the Farm spent a lot of money doing what the Bull dictated. But crime did not decrease, property values did not rise, and the schools did not get any better.

“It’s time to get tough”, thought the Bull. “I will decree that besides foreigners, it’s the animals who do not own their own homes as well as the Pigs and the Horses who are doing this. I will encourage the other animals to tell me if they see something they Do Not Like in their neighbor’s area. Then I will herd them into “compliance” with rules I and the 5 Sheep will make up.”

But how do I herd these Sheep? I am a Bull, not a Sheepherder. I don’t even like Sheep – I am so much better than they are. I just need the Sheep because they outnumber the other animals and they will do my bidding. So the Bull talked to the Dogs. The Dogs loved to chase animals and generally show the animals who was the boss. The Sheep were especially fun because they were so easy to intimidate. Some of the neighboring farms wouldn’t let Dogs chase their animals, so the two Farm Dogs invited those neighboring Dogs to help them. Soon there was a Pack of Dogs who were more than happy to herd the animals for the Bull.

The Bull and his 5 Sheep created Ordinances that were vague and often silly. They told the other animals that they were enforcing these Ordinances to assure the Health, Safety and Welfare of the Farm. They met frequently with the Pack of Dogs to be sure the Dogs enforced those Ordinances. If a Farm citizen, especially a Pig or a Horse, resisted the Dogs were instructed to punish them by increasing surveillance on their homes and to issue citations for everything they could find or dream up. The Dogs were given complete control over the interpretation of the Ordinances: if they said it was so then it was so.

At first the animals, especially the Sheep, complied with the Ordinances, as they really did hope that the Bull and his minions had their best interests at heart. But it didn’t take long for the Horses and Pigs to realize that it would be impossible to please the Bull. They tried – oh how they tried. The Pigs thought “Hey; if the other animals don’t like to see my home I will just build a fence around it and they won’t have to look at it.” But that wasn’t good enough for the Bull. He told the 5 Sheep that they would have to make rules prohibiting fences where the Dogs couldn’t see what was going on. And as for animals that already had fences, he would make a rule that it didn’t matter – the Dogs could wander around and peer into anyone’s back yard by whatever means they were clever enough to come up with. Then, if they found “prohibited items and/or practices” they would write citations and they would take the animals to animal court and make them pay fines. As usual, the 5 Sheep were instructed to tell the other animals that they were doing this for their own good, and for the good of the community.

Because of the debt incurred by the failed attempts to run off the foreigners, the cost of building and maintaining the fountains and rose gardens, the lawsuits from the renters, and other “improvement projects” the Farm was now getting awfully low on funds. Businesses were relocating their headquarters to more hospitable farms. Many of the stores that sold items to the animals had closed and many of the animals had fled, leaving giant wastelands of empty and unmaintained buildings. The Bull tried in vain to entice other animals and businesses to move into the Farm, but to no avail. Some businesses expressed interest, but the Bull decided that they were not the kind of businesses that he desired, so he discouraged them and they moved on. Animals who had considered moving to that Farm took one look and saw that they did not want to be under constant surveillance in their own homes so they opted to raise their families in a more wholesome environment.

Soon the entire Farm began to decay. The Horses and Pigs got tired of putting up with the Bull and pushed back or moved away. The Bull retaliated by raising taxes and increasing surveillance. He told the animals that the money was needed to purchase all the decaying buildings and go on with his Master Plan. The Chickens squawked a little, but did nothing else. The Pigs and Horses fought the taxes, but the 5 Sheep did as the Bull commanded anyway. The other Sheep said nothing.

The Bull used the money to build a lovely garden “shopping” complex.  He also achieved his two big desires for this complex. One was to have a copy of his favorite franchise restaurant close by. For some reason even during a major worldwide recession the Bull thought that people wanted to shop and eat at restaurants that catered to high school kids.

The second dream of the Bull’s was to create a suitable memorial to his greatness. At considerable cost he commissioned an artist to create a sculpture. It was a huge statue of the Bull driving out other animals from his Paradise Farm. The memorial became an icon of intolerance and special interests. International Television stations display this “Homage to the Bull” every time they want to demonstrate: and laugh at; how  a once- prosperous country can become backwards and embarrassing.

The Cows, and the Sheep who couldn’t quietly escape, stayed on the ravaged Farm, as did the Chickens who weren’t able to sell their nests. The Dogs still delight in nipping their heels. The Horses and Pigs left as soon as they were able.

And the Bull? He moved on to his business which was located in another farm anyway, so it was no big loss to him.