The Rattlesnake, the Red Wolf, and the Labrador Puppies: A Fable for our Times

5 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2016 Last revised: 8 Nov 2016

Date Written: October 28, 2016


The 2016 presidential election cycle has proven to be intensely acrimonious and rhetorically provocative. This essay, written in the form of a fable, illustrates the use of rhetoric in contemporary American politics and suggests by implication what uses of rhetoric voters are (and are not) likely to find persuasive; employs an ancient literary form (the fable) to critique a variety of policy positions that have been advanced in this election cycle (e.g., federal funding of abortion, widespread, aggressive deportations of undocumented persons, and a ban on Muslim immigration) by the nominees of both major political parties (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump); illustrates how theological convictions can serve a useful role in public policy deliberation; and illustrates one pathway for those committed to a political morality grounded in both democratic theory and theological convictions to make a moral political choice.

Keywords: 2016 election, presidential election, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, religion and politics, abortion, abortion funding, deportation, Muslim ban, immigration policy, political morality, alien, foreign, rattlesnake, snake, serpent, red wolf, wolf, Labrador, liberal democracy, image of God, pet store

Suggested Citation

Buckles, Johnny Rex, The Rattlesnake, the Red Wolf, and the Labrador Puppies: A Fable for our Times (October 28, 2016). U of Houston Law Center No. 2016-W-3, Available at SSRN: or

Johnny Rex Buckles (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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