It’s been a while since I have had a thorough examination of my eyes, so this morning I went in for a full work-up. Mostly, because the Supreme Local Authority, aka my wife, said to do so.
Like most medical examinations, there is a prolonged period of waiting in the examination room, where you cannot do anything but sit and waste time, usually in a condition of relative vulnerability. In today’s case, that meant sitting with my eyes treated with three different sorts of drops, dilating them and doing who know what else. At such times, you cannot do much of anything but think, and it occurred to me that many of our nation’s leaders spend a great deal of time just waiting, themselves. Despite the hype, there are real and sometimes adamantine limits on the Congress, Courts, and President, so that each spends time waiting for the other to do something, to which he will then respond.
It also occurred to me that there are a lot of things patients have to put up with, either for very good reasons that we simply do not understand, or maybe just because that is how the doctors demand things be done and we have no choice in the matter. The political equivalent, of course, are such presumptions that it will take a long time for domestic drilling to have any effect on the economy, so it should not be done at all, or that because reforming Social Security is a difficult and complex problem, we should ignore the coming catastrophe of its collapse.
That line of absurdity is a very well-established one in Congress. Because they did not face up to his crimes when he was politically powerful, republicans this year found themselves supporting a convicted felon in the Alaska senatorial race. Because he did not address his past support of ACORN and explain the difference between his work and their attempts to commit voter registration fraud, President-elect Obama has already cemented his name to a corrupt group of unscrupulous partisans. And both parties have accepted money and support in various ways from groups that most Americans consider immoral and hypocritical.
In the end, I got a prescription and a bill, and I have to trust my doctor that his opinion will result in better health and vision in the future. In the same way, as bizarre as it seems we Americans have little choice but to pay the bill for what our government does, and hope they know what they’re doing.