An allegory

One day you wake up feeling icky. Maybe you have a very stuffed head and pain in sinus cavities. And you remember yesterday was like that too, and you haven’t felt good since Friday. So you take yourself to the doctor. The doctor confirms you have something like a sinus infection and proposes you take a round of antibiotics, ten days, take every pill. You say yes (this is an important part), take the prescription to the pharmacy, and get your pills. You take the first one at night. It’s a large pill, maybe “horse pill!” large. And you take pills the next few nights. The doctor said it would take a few days, and the infection was pretty bad. (In fact, maybe he gave you instructions on pain relievers.) Doctor said it might give you diarrhea, and you have a slight touch of that after a couple of days, not really too bad, but it’s never pleasant.

After, say, four or five days, you start to feel a little bit better. You can even force yourself to go to the store, where you see a nutritional supplement that says it can fix cold and sinus problems. You buy some, and you stop taking the antibiotics, even though the doctor said you have to take all ten days’ worth. You’re feeling better, you just need to control the sinus drainage now….

OK. In a week, you may feel completely better. Or, in a week, you may have completely relapsed, because the infection was never cleared up because you got impatient and stopped taking the antibiotics. You end up telling your friends, “thad pill da doctor gabe be din’t worgk, sniffle” or something to that effect, not owning up to the fact that you didn’t give it the full run.

Does the first part of story sound at all familiar, America? Isn’t that what you just did by voting the Republicans back in control of the House? Are you going to be saying “Thad president din’t worgk, sniffle” because you weren’t patient enough with the prescribed treatment? Nothing was going to clear up the infection in the economy in two years. But changing “treatments” in mid-recovery might just allow a relapse to recur.

I guess that’s my biggest disappointment, that what the administration and Congress had going with health care, financial reform, economic stimulus, etc., hasn’t been given a chance to work, and now the work starts to undo what hasn’t even gone into effect yet.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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6 Responses to An allegory

  1. zenicurean says:

    The problem with this analogy, of course, is that there are two doctors to choose from. Both are making a credible case that the other doctor is a wild faith-healing quack who relies entirely on carbon pills and magical crystals, and that any recovery under the other doctor’s watch is for the most part unrelated to his otherwise poor treatment of your condition.

    To some extent that the Obama stimulus package manifestly didn’t do what they said it would employment-wise is in this respect just as relevant a factor from an electoral success perspective than whether, as the White House argues, it did something less effective but still important to employment.

    • songdogmi says:

      I suppose you’re right: If Senator McCain had been elected president in 2008, without the surge in Democratic Congress members, we would likely find ourselves today with about the same economy as we do now, and we might have just watched a new surge in Democratic Congress members. Recovery was just bound to take longer than two years from the November 2008. I still hold that changing governing philosophies now is a bad thing, as at the very least things that might have been implemented from the orginal plan in the next few months won’t be, and any new ideas coming from Congress will likely run counter to what’s been attempted.

      • zenicurean says:

        It doesn’t help that, very often, politicians are in many ways condemned to dealing in brazen counterfactuals about a topic that defies easy analysis. That is, at least some of the debate seemed to be about what would’ve happened if the Obama stimulus package hadn’t been enacted. And it’s really quite improbable anyone could know that, although educated guesses are certainly not in any short supply (if often wildly contradictory in their conclusions).

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m utterly disgusted with both parties, and Obama has disappointed me mightily even though I never had great expectations for him in the first place.

    Even so, I agree that voting Republicans back in to federal offices is just about the stupidest thing American voters have done in my lifetime. I agree with the analysts who say that they are going to regret it a great deal before long. Only California has bucked the trend, dumping pushy (and well-funded) Republican candidates into the gutter where they came from.)

    Your analogy is good, but I like even better a very brief one I saw on Twitter yesterday:

    “These firemen have been working for TWO years and the fire isn’t out. Let’s get rid of them and put the arsonists back in charge.”

    What we have now is a perfect match for 1992, when Newt Gingrich and the Republicans issued their “contract on America” and held the entire nation for ransom, wasting all their time blocking every useful bit of legislation while they stirred up as much drama as they could by trying to impeach Clinton.

    I hear the GOP congress is already planning “hearings” on the “global warming fraud” and I’m sure the impeachment articles are being drafted even at this moment. Expect nothing useful out of congress for the next two years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, that was 1994, not 1992. Oops.

    • songdogmi says:

      “These firemen have been working for TWO years and the fire isn’t out. Let’s get rid of them and put the arsonists back in charge.”

      That’s very apt. I’d applaud if I wasn’t crying.

      The one who’s upsetting me the most is the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. His statements over the last few days regarding how little he expects to work with the president are just short of treasonous and completely unbecoming a senator. He needs to be protested, picket signs and all. Someone needs to tell that man that he does not speak for all Americans and he should just shut up and do his job.

      I think so little will get done of any value in the next two years that we ought to dock the pay of Congress members until they straighten up. Like that can ever happen, of course.

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