16 Mar 2009 09:40 Filed in: Linguistic Shenanigans
Today, the Tired Donkey would like to tell you a story about a misbehaving child.
Imagine that you own a beautiful piece of land in the country. You work hard at your job, and this land is where you go to escape. Because you find your relaxation though gardening, you have spent the last twenty years working on the grounds. As a result of your hard work and creativity, you have built what all agree is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
You have a son. He is twenty-two years old, and just out of college. Unfortunately—because of the poor economy and his horticulture degree—he has no job prospects. He begs you to be allowed to live in the cottage near your gardens; he assures you that he wants to help with the garden, to take some of the load off your shoulders.
You are suspicious; he has friends in the area who are dirt-bikers, and you think he might allow them into the garden. You ask him about it directly: “Son, you are going to be controlling the keys to the grounds. It is very important that you take that responsibility seriously; I can’t have a bunch of dirt bikers ruining the garden.” He assures you he would never do such a thing. “Dad, I promise I will let no dirt bikers into the garden.” You assent; he needs a place to stay, and he ought to be helpful.
Several weeks after he moves in, you go to your garden and find it utterly ruined by dirt bikers. You confront your son. “Dad, it’s not my fault,” he says. “It wasn’t my idea to ride dirt bikes in the garden, and I didn’t even ride one myself. All I did was let them in when they asked.” You stare at him. Then you . . . what? What do you do?
The Tired Donkey is curious because he would like to know what we are supposed to do with our Myrmidon Donkey president. During the campaign, Myrmidon Donkey Obama criticized Myrmidon Donkey McCain mercilessly about his plan to tax healthcare benefits. MD Obama said he would never allow such a thing because it would amount to the highest tax increase in history on the middle class. Now we learn that MD Obama is, in fact, open to taxing health benefits. But he won’t be the one to propose it; he’ll just be willing to sign the law if Congress does the dirty work.
Like the son in the Tired Donkey’s sad story, MD Obama is either too weak to shoulder his responsibilities or is already showing himself to be an unapologetic liar. Character matters. The Tired Donkey understands that politicians must change their mind in the face of facts from time to time. In fact, he encourages it. But he expects to be treated like an adult. How hard would it be to say to us, “People of America, I said one thing on the campaign trail, but financial realities have forced me to change my mind”? The Tired Donkey has an answer: it would be easy. But—like all the other Myrmidon Donkeys—MD Obama is unlikely to say this because he believes most of the population is too dumb to remember what he said a mere six months ago. He may be right.
There is nothing MD Obama could say to convince the Tired Donkey that any taxes on medical coverage would be a good thing. But he could say things that would allow the Tired Donkey to respect him; the Tired Donkey is not holding his breath.