Vol. 8, Issue 1, February 9, 2010
Nailing Down the Problem in Washington
It so Happens that my business takes me, upon rare Occasion, to the storied and marble-clad Halls of our Nation's Capital every now and Then. Although chiefly tolerable in small Doses - much like Music written after 1938 - I confess there are many enclaves in Washington with a Refreshing preponderance of Waistcoats and top-Hats, where old-fashioned Values hold sway and political Sinecures, strong Whisky, and excellent Cigars are passed about Freely. Lately, however, the atmosphere has Changed a bit, and upon this latest trip - my first in some Years - I found a most curious Ornament upon one of the Pillars adorning Capitol Hill: a gold Doubloon nailed thereupon, in plain Sight of all.
"Pardon me," I said, attracting the Attention of a passing Senator. "I cannot help but Notice that someone has been Decorating with a Hammer and Nails. Could you explain please the Signficance of this gold coin? How does it Remain there without someone helping themselves?" For human Nature is refreshingly Consistent; there is a Reason that palaces place the Gold-Leaf up near the Ceiling, preferably twenty feet out of Reach.
"The coin is there as rightful Prize," said the man, "for the one who first sights the way to Sink the Leviathan that threatens our placid waters."
"Leviathan?" I inquired, my interest Piqued (we have a family History of Whaling, as is well known).
"Aye, the White House agenda," spake the man with bitter intent. "Tis a bloated monstrous Whale of a thing, and we are sworn to Harpoon it no matter How far we must sail!"
So powerfully did the whole grim Aspect of this senator strike me that I took a rapid bit of Fortification from the flask within my Walking-stick (Laphroaig, this time: a fine Choice for tight Situations).
"Now I am no stranger to the fierce waters of Politics," I said modestly, "but Never have I seen a policy proposal inspire such Fervor in its opponents. The fire and Brimstone on the Senate floor always gives way to gentlemanly Compromise over cigars and Port in the back-room. What then drives you to such Measures?"
"All of it!" barked the man, whose eyes blazed with such Intensity that he very nearly set his own Hair ablaze. "While I draw breath, let not a single Appointment be confirmed, nor Healthcare reform passed: we stand, forty-one Strong, with Harpoons in hand! No, great White House beast, there shall be no Change this day! To the last we Grapple with thee; from hell's heart we Stab at thee; for hate's sake we spit our last Breath at thee! Preferably on C-SPAN, where our home Districts may observe."
"I think I have heard this tale before," I cautioned. But the Senator had no more Time for me, merely waving his hand in Dismissal, mopping his Brow with silken Handkerchief and walking away down the Capitol steps with nary a backward Glance.
I gazed long at that coin, glinting in the Sun. And then, struck by Inspiration, I drew a matching gold Coin from my purse, and carefully tacked it up Next to the first; but on Mine, I added a little Note: "To the first who lays Down his harpoon instead."
I hope it does not remain there overlong.