September 22, 2008
I’m going to preface this with a three decade old personal anecdote to express the insanity of it all.
Before we were ex- and ex-, my wife and I had a small dog; small being perhaps 18-20 pounds of small, but not tiny. We were visiting my wife’s parents for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, the exact holiday in this retelling wholly unimportant, and we took the dog with us.
At some point, the dog was either going in or out their back door when we heard a loud yelp. I won’t say who was closing the door, (hint: initials are m-i-l) but the dog’s head had been slammed between the frame of the heavy sliding glass door and the jamb. Everyone stopped what they were doing, and the dog was inspected for damage. Seeing nothing serious via a physical inspection of the dog and its initial reaction, we and the dog went about whatever it was we had been doing without a further thought.
Over the course of the ensuing week the dog grew more and more listless until, on its last day it was fading into unconsciousness. Rather than see it endure whatever pain it may have been suffering, my wife and I agreed it was probably best to have it put down, and that I would be the one to take it to the vet’s. We called the vet, to advise him I would be in his office shortly, as well as the reason for the visit.
Upon arriving at the veterinarian’s, I lifted the now completely unconscious and veritably limp, barely breathing animal out of the back seat and took it through the office door. The vet rushed out, and ushered me to one of the examination rooms: there was no time to lose. He had to administer the euthanasia drug . . . before the animal could die on its own.
It occurred to me later that evening how completely insane every feature of the vet visit had been. Got to hurry up and kill it before it dies.
The absolute insanity of it all is how I feel about what’s going on today; not that anyone or any entity is, or is not, on its deathbed, rather the frenzied reaction we’re witnessing, and the proposed solutions that seem to be being concocted moment to moment, with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Bush administration combining to play the role of the veterinarian in the preceding vignette, and all of congress playing me. And everyone, almost as in some sick Broadway musical, singing a chorus, “There’s no time to lose!”
What Paulson wants from Congress this week is a “clean bill” that will give to him, and to whoever will be the next Treasury Secretary in a matter of a few months, sweeping power to administer $700,000,000,000 in taxpayer money (small, non-sequential unmarked bills preferred) . . . and maybe more, “we’ll let you know later; no burdensome oversight, please.”
After all, this is an emergency, and bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo just slows things down.
I for one don’t want to slow the lowering of the lifeboats. But I do wonder about who’s captaining this thing, and doesn’t it seem a tad too much like those in charge of the evacuation are the very same ones who drove the ship into the iceberg? And shouldn’t those of us who are being set adrift in the turbulent dark sea at least be given some indication which tune the band will play?