“Fiscal Cliff” …?

"Black Sheep Lemming" reprinted with permission of Just Outside the Box.

“Black Sheep Lemming” reprinted with permission of Just Outside the Box.

There is no real cliff.

The only cliff is the one created by the imagination of the lemmings now running toward it.

“Just Outside the Box” published a  cartoon of a group of lemmings running toward the cliff. One of them has turned back to run from the cliff. One of the lemmings asks, “Why’s he going in the opposite direction from us?” to which another replies, “Don’t worry about him. He’s the black sheep in the family.”

There never has been a real fiscal cliff. The likelihood is that “the cliff” will disappear before the lemmings reach the brink.  If the lemmings that created their cliff don’t all become “black sheep”, they’ll all be in big trouble with their constituents back home.

Maybe the partisan brinksmanship will end up serving a different purpose. If it does, it may turn out to have been one of those “teaching moments” when the light bulb goes on among the students in the classroom.

The United States of America is a representative democratic republic that places the art of compromise for the sake of the common good at the center of the nation’s life. If the perception of a “fiscal cliff” calls the electorate back from the precipice created by ”one-issue, my-way-or-the-highway, lemming politics“, the cliff that never was will turn out to have had the good effect of a new civility.

Grover Norquist: High Priest of Purple Kool-Aid

Grover Norquist is quoted in Mallory Simon’s “GOP Resistance to Anti-Tax Pledge Grows” as saying:

“You’ve had some people discussing impure thoughts on national television.”

“Impure”?…  Is The Taxpayer Protection Pledge a religion? With its own “elect”? And its own high priest and Lord High Executioner: Grover Norquist? Thank God for the former cult members who have had “impure” thoughts and are going on national television to either repent or to “weasel out” of their pledges.

No elected representative should take any other pledge than to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and to faithfully exercise the duties of their office. The Norquist pledge, while it has rallied support for candidates’ election to office, limits their ability to exercise of the duties of office, as many former signers are discovering while standing at the edge of “the fiscal cliff”.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge (“Anti-Tax Pledge”) was always bad religion. It asked candidates, and the whole country, to follow the example of another religious high priest, Jim Jones, who led this flock into the jungle where they frank the purple Kool-Aid of mass suicide.

We’re not in the jungle of Guyana with Jim Jones. We’re in the United States of America. Time to dump the purple Kool-Aid religion. Time for some fresh orange juice, a bowl of nutritious oatmeal with raisins, and lots of conversation over coffee in the Congress and the White House.