And the Jays Have it (Republican Bunning Hazards the Impolitic)


Washington, CT. At the south end of my property, there is a typically sculptural Eastern White Pine that sits up on the edge of a clearing and overlooks the hollow below. Like other members of its species, this tree is like a ballet dancer, arms outstretched and unlike the stolidly massive Spruce, it pirouettes in the landscape. Once in a while, for reasons known only to it, the Red Shoulder Hawk that nests in the tall oaks at the north end of the property decides it will roost in this White Pine instead of its customary oaks far above. At that point, the local Blue Jays descend en-masse to hop through the cover of the needles and maybe get a peck or two on the Hawk.

Like a raucous Greek Chorus, one band of Jays screams a strophe from stage left while the other replies in antistrophe from the right. The Hawk doesn’t generally last long in the hubbub and emerges to fly off back up the Hollow, harried all the way. I surmise the Hawk does this from time to time for a little entertainment and in order to lull the Jays into overconfidence. I once saw the bigger bird do a lightening-quick barrel roll to snatch one of the impertinent Jays before he knew what had hit him.

Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky recently exposed himself to a similar bout with the Jays. He used one of those charming relics the Framers left us in their hybrid of Socratic/ Platonic vs. Aristotelian politics. Plato and his teacher Socrates considered democracy to be more akin to a thugocracy while Aristotle, the physician’s son saw virtue in Democracy. Their debate erratically continues today in the form of our government. I don’t know whether Senator Bunning was concerned with virtue in general, but he was concerned with the virtue of the Senate following their own rules and so he used an old tool which allows a single Senator’s voice to hold up pending legislation. Looking at the Obama Administration’s “Pay-Go” legislation, which called for no legislation to be made without  being paid for, he opposed a spending measure that did not meet the standards adopted. Memory has a short half-life with our politicians, and so they raised a ruckus all around, claiming that the Senator was some heartless Ebenezer Scrooge, starving the citizenry. Perhaps technically he was, but he was also doing something that is rarely done these days: he was calling for fiscal honesty and discipline. The Jays mobbed him but good. He relented and flew off after his assailants pulled some of their typical procedural legerdemain.

As one of literary bent and so frequently guilty of casting the charge of a Pox On Both Houses at our besotted political parties, I was impressed that at long last, at least one Republican stalwart stood tall and took a beating in the name of fiscal discipline. So, due respect to the Senator from Kentucky and perhaps I’ll retreat a little myself and render up the proper score in this latest event:

Carl Scott: 7           D.W. Sabin : 0

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