• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Nuclear Option

    Does anybody else see the start of debate on the "Nuclear Option" in the Senate today as bad for everyone? Frankly, I'm totally sick of the whole thing.

    In my church, my wife and I happen to watch the children from 18 mo to 3 years while parents go to Sunday School. Typically, we and one other couple watch 12-18 little tots run around and try not to let any of them get killed. They're actually pretty cute (although our desire to have children of our own fluctuates with the stress of the given sunday).

    I bring this up because the behavior of our senators--on both sides of the debate--strikes me as the same act I saw last Sunday. This kid, Gavin, had a toy knight. He wanted to play with the knight and the castle. Another child, Emma, also wanted the knight. So now you have a dilemma--who gets the knight, and why? Emma tries to grab the knight from Gavin, he won't let go. Instead of playing with the castle, she pouts and tries to take the knight from him. Eventually, she gets it and sits on it so he couldn't get it back. I had to break up this two-year-old tussle, and explain to Emma that Gavin had the knight first, therefore he gets to play with it and the castle. She can find another figure to play with and the castle, or she can play with something else and wait for Gavin to stop playing with the knight. Being children, the grossly important knight was forgotten by both children in 15 minutes when we put away toys and had snacks.

    Here's the rub: We'll say

    1. Gavin is the Republicans
    2. Emma is the Democrats
    3. the knight is the judicial posts
    4. and of course, sitting on the knight represents a pretty effective filibuster

    Why are my country's senators acting like two-year-olds? Shouldn't they have matured in the fifty-plus years of life since they sat in a nursery class? Why doesn' the morals we teach our children, that I had to explain to Emma, work in the senate as well as nursery? And, if it took an outside authority figure whose presence denoted absolute morality (in this case) to break up the scuffle at church on sunday, what happens in the Senate? Is there an outside authority figure who has that power?

    The Democrats should concede defeat. Not because I necessarily agree with the judicial nominations, but because I think it would be best for the image of the party and the survival of the filibuster. As it goes now, the Republicans will force a senate procedural change and then get the up or down vote they've lobbied for. In the people I've talked to, surprisingly (or not so) they view the Democrats the same way most adults would have viewed Emma--not in the wrong for wanting the knight (judicial posts), but in the wrong for their use of filibuster (sitting on the toy) when they did not have to ability to effect positive change (Gavin had it first).

    The Democrats lost senate seats in the last election, although almost winning the white house. If they lose this fight, the Republicans will get their nominations approved, the Democrats will lose the ability to filibuster judges in the future (one of whom may be more deserving than those nominated now), and they will (do) look like the pouting Emma who loses the toy back to Gavin when they stall up all committees.

    The American people may have different party affiliations, but I wager most, if not all, put the country above the partisan fights when push comes to shove. The populace will see this fight for what it truly is--a squabble between two-year-olds over a toy--and effectively give the toy back to Gavin by allowing the Republicans to gain more seats in the 2006 elections.

    Democrats, for me (an independent), fellow democrats, rival republicans, and the good of the nation in general, let it go. Save your face for 2006, your filibuster for someone more worthy, and the populace from having to endure more puerile bickering.

    Besides, it'll be snack time in 15 minutes and then we'll all forget about it anyway.

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