The story of the Sequester is the story of Al Gore’s frog in the pot of boiling water. When you allow yourself too much time to think about the unthinkable, you inure yourself to it. The Sequester is like an Adjustable Rate Mortgage in reverse–instead of the looming possibility of having to pay more, it holds out the prospect of having to do with less. If you don’t flip or refinance in two years you’ll have to get rid of your car. Or maybe you have to stop feeding your pets. But as the months go by, you start to think that maybe Zip Car makes more sense for your needs. And the pets can fend for themselves–it would be better for them, more natural, if they started hunting again. Besides, how else are you ever going to get such deep cuts in the military?
Back when the Budget Control Act of 2011 was written and signed, the Republicans figured that they’d be back in the drivers’ seat by 2013–and the Democrats, I suspect, most likely figured the same thing. Do you remember how weak Obama seemed back in August of 2011? I do. What I don’t think either party anticipated was the possibility that Obama could be reelected by as decisive a margin as he was in 2012 but still not have the upper hand in 2013–that as he begins his fifth year in office, Republican Job One is still to hold him to one term. What’s truly frightening is how used we’re all getting to the idea that this country is genuinely ungovernable.
When I got up this morning, I Googled “Sequester” and clicked on the first page that came up, which was a CBS News site. The headline was “Sequester Lands Today as Obama, Congressional Leaders Meet.” Off on the right of the page, there was a sidebar with the five most popular stories. They tell a story themselves.
Man trapped in 100-foot-wide sinkhole near Tampa 40975 views
4 possible silver linings in the sequester 21741 views
Sequester: What was the point? 13253 views
Sequestration looms – but when will the pain feel real? 10158 views
Chavez fighting for his life, Venezuela VP says
Number One is about a Florida man who was swallowed alive when a 100-foot sinkhole opened up beneath his bedroom. It’s the stuff of nightmares: a catastrophe that no one could imagine or prepare themselves for. And then you have the Sequester. Number Two reflects the thoughts of the frog in the pot of boiling water–it’s really not that bad. Maybe it’s even good. Number Three asks the question that we all are asking–and that Washington should have asked itself two years ago. Number Four reflects the frog’s incredulity; he can’t believe that its doom is as painless as it seems to be. And then Five reminds all of us–but especially politicians–that sic transit gloria mundi.
So here we are on this first day of March, 2013. The Pope is a Pope Emeritus. Bob Woodward is a self-aggrandizing liar. The dreaded dictator is dying. The world gets hotter every day. The Sequester has landed and all that is solid is melting into air.
Here are Marx and Engel’s words in context: “All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.”
Face with sober senses his real conditions of life. Wouldn’t that be something?