Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Slingshots and Nuclear Options


Summer, circa 1963 - I was just a wee lad visiting my grandparents for a week or so, when I accompanied my grandmother to the market one day.  As she selected the ingredients for the evening meal I stood frozen in place, mesmerized by a spinning toy rack.   I had a quarter in my pocket, and they had a slingshot for sale at only 25 cents.  “Nanny, I want to buy this slingshot.  I have the money,” I declared.

“Why don’t you wait until we go to the five and dime store tomorrow, and I’ll give you some more money to get a better toy, maybe a model airplane,” was her sage advice.   But NO.  I wanted something NOW.  It wasn’t like I was even in the market for a slingshot.  But there it was, catching my eye.  And there I was with a windfall of pocket change.  Wait one day for a much better toy?  No way!  I bought the slingshot.  Regret showed its ugly face the very next day, as I was tired of shooting pebbles and wished I had an airplane to play with.

 I don’t know how long that slingshot lasted.  I don’t have it now.  But then, I probably wouldn’t still have the model airplane either.  What I do still have from that memorable day with my Nanny is the lesson I learned; that haste is foolish, but patience is a virtue that will produce a good result (and a better toy)!

 November 2013 – Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada was Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, and he was a man determined to confirm judges and other appointments made by President Obama.  The Republican minority had enough voices to throw a kink in the plan, using the senate filibuster rules.  See, the minority party could filibuster (talk on and on… and on) to stop a vote, and it took a 2/3rds majority to cease that and call the vote.  Reid didn’t have that 2/3rds, so he and his colleagues changed the rule so that a simple majority was all that was needed to close the debate and vote on the judges.  This action came to be known as the “nuclear option”.

 October 2020 – The Republicans are now the majority, and Reid’s decision came back to haunt his party, as the slim majority the Republicans now held was sufficient to use that nuclear option to confirm President Trump’s appointment of a new Justice to the U. S. Supreme Court.

 I know how Harry Reid felt.  I had the quarter, and wanted the slingshot.  He had the nuclear option and wanted the judges.  Of course, I was a small boy.  I’m not sure what his excuse is.  I do know what it cost him!

Photo: The Little Hunter, by by Karl Witkowski (in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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