Friday, July 22, 2011

A Lesson From LOST

I've been re-watching the TV show Lost, from start to finish, all six seasons, and the end of Season 2 kind of reminded me of the current fake "debt ceiling crisis" going on in Washington. First, I should explain what I put the description or title or whatever it is in quotes, and prefaced it by calling it fake. Really, all that needs to be done is for Congress to pass a bill that says, "The credit of the United States is extended by 'x' dollars." Period. That's it. Except, of course, the Republicans who control the House refuse to do so. For reasons beyond imagining, rather than stand up and say, "Just pass the credit extension," the President agrees with the idea that "something must be done" about federal spending (kind of the same way he accepted the idea that "something must be done" about the Libyan civil war and we all know how well that's working out). There is only a "crisis" because all sides and the co-dependent Washington press corps all agree there is a crisis, and that "something must be done", rather than just passing a bill raising the debt ceiling and moving on.

At the end of Season 2, John Locke has become convinced through a combination of duplicity from without and gnawing doubt from within that the whole button-in-the-hatch is little more than a psychological experiment. His doubt has become so deep, despite walking after four years in a wheelchair, he doubts there is anything special about the island, or his relationship to it. He connives to get the computer room locked out, and not push the button. Swinging from belief to absolute conviction, he insists that the whole button-pushing process is fake, and goes further and insists that his life has been pathetic, meaningless, and once the curtain is raised on the fakery going on in the hatch, the survivors of Flight 815 will operate on a more even keel.

Then, the counter reaches zero, the room starts to vibrate, the magnetic anomaly begins to suck every metallic object in the hatch toward it, and Desmond Hume, the half-crazed last button-pusher goes beneath the hatch to operate the fail-safe, which implodes the hatch. Before Desmond goes underneath the station, Locke looks at him and says, with both fear and sadness, "I was wrong."

Many new members of the Republican caucus are convinced of several things. They are convinced our President is a clear and present threat to the American way of life. They are convinced not only that they have a mandate to oppose him, but that granting even the most basic request he makes, even one in the national interest, will only further the President's agenda of destroying our country. To that end, they are convinced, in the words of a videotape released by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), that the President is "lying" about the consequences of defaulting on our sovereign debt.

As the country begins to implode on August 3, how many of them will come to realize, as John Locke did once it became too late, that everything they had been told was real? When the debt ceiling is raised - and it will be one way or another, even if it is far too late to mitigate the tremendous damage done to the economy, and the working of every aspect of the federal government, from defending the country to delivering the mail - will any of them admit they were wrong?

Liberals want to put all the blame on the Tea Party. While they do shoulder the responsibility for the prestidigitation, pulling a crisis out of a hat as it were, the President, too, shares much of the same responsibility. His desire "to do something" is as much to blame as the Tea Party Caucus' devotion to the idea that destroying everything is far better than giving Pres. Obama anything.

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