The little town of Quarrelsville lies on the outskirts of Malberg. The speed limit posted on Main Street is 25 mph, but most drivers passing through are too impatient to comply. Several children have been knocked off their bikes and injured. Thankfully, none have been killed.
The town council is equally divided, as they are on most issues, on what to do. Camp Blue, noting that speed signs are ignored, wants to put in three-inch-high, yellow-painted speed bumps.
Camp Orange disagrees. Three-inch speed bumps would exceed the town’s budget. Two-and-a-half-inch speed bumps would be acceptable, but only if they’re orange.
“Okay,” said Camp Blue, “we’ll agree to your proposal. Will you now vote for it?”
“No,” said Camp Orange, “we still don’t like it.”
“Because you’ll take credit for the idea.”
I guess you can see the parallel to the vote just tallied in the US Senate. All fifty Democrat Senators voted for the Inflation Reduction Act; all fifty Republican Senators voted against it.
In part one of Gulliver’s Travels, shipwrecked Gulliver finds himself in the land of the little people of Lilliput. A civil war is about to begin over disagreement on the proper end of the egg to break. Obviously satire, Swift is trying to show the stupidity of the extent to which a silly, nit-picking argument can lead.
Our present situation is not so trivial. Our Congress is staunchly divided on a bill that would lower healthcare costs for all Americans and mitigate global warming that threatens all life on Earth. And one side is hung up on who gets credit for the progress!
Has there ever been an argument more inane? Objectors are saying “We don’t like your plan that saves our grandchildren because it makes you look too good. (Note: here I am assuming that the nay-sayers are actually educated enough to be aware that there is a problem).
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
For those who may doubt we have a problem, I would be happy to elucidate. Though I myself am not a climate scientist, one of my best friends, now semi-retired, was head of NOAA’s global greenhouse gas monitoring system for many years. I could provide a not-too-technical translation of his summary of the global warming problem if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not time to worry about the scorecard.
Bob Moores retired from Black & Decker/DeWalt in 1999 after 36 years. He was the Director of Cordless Product Development at the time. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University.