BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
All of us surely recall the children’s story of the ugly duckling. The theme, of course, is that things that start out ugly may end up beautiful as they grow and mature. The ugly duckling turned out to be the beautiful swan over which everyone swooned.
This writer wonders if he were the only one ever to look at those pictures in the story book, pause, and think, “That long, crooked-necked bird is the ugly one. The duck looked pretty good. I don’t really agree with the premise of this story.”
As it has been said, “Don’t ever watch sausages or wieners being made or you will never eat one again.” This saying has been extended to laws made through the legislative process. It is an ugly, disturbing process.
For those of us who have indeed watched laws being made, from both near and afar, that knowledge of observation has sometimes led to less respect for “the law.” “The law” no longer has that sacrosanct aura to which it is accustomed from the less experienced or less knowledgeable. It is not handed down, but is man-made.
In the case of the stimulus package, and its arduous path through Congress, one wonders if it will turn out to be an ugly duckling or a swan. Will it be viewed as something pretty being spoiled? Will it be viewed as something less than pretty being turned into something beautiful? Will it be viewed as something ugly which is still ugly?
Both beauty and ugly are in the eye of the beholder, of course.
Staunch Democrats may likely see it as a white swan becoming smudged. Republicans may see it as an ugly duck that is still an ugly duck. But from the view of most, if we believe the commentary which will come, it will be seen as a beautiful white and black speckled bird which resembles a swan.
Yes, everyone is likely to claim some kind of victory. Republicans take pride in blocking, slowing, or altering Democratic initiatives, no matter the urgency or need. Democrats take pride in accomplishing something good, if not perfect, in spite of Republican opposition.
The heroes in this fierce struggle are the moderates, particularly those two Republican women senators from Maine. When everything was stalemated those two women stepped forth to lead the Senate toward a bill they could support, and thus pass in spite of their stubbornly obstinate colleagues.
No doubt this was difficult for Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. No doubt there will be reprisals against them from within their party. But they put country over party and got something done – something Sen. John McCain and his party slogan promised in the election but failed in their first test.
No one knows for sure this is the right package. No one knows if it will be enough to accomplish the objective of halting the downward spiral of our economy. But every rational person knows we need to do something other than cut taxes.
Let us hope that the compromise package successfully makes its way back through conference for final passage. Let us all hope that it helps our desperate situation.
- Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer