Bonner Day: An apology for analyzing stupidity
“When angry count four; when very angry, swear.” Mark Twain.
My attempt at humor at the expense of government decisions in a previous column met with hearty approval among some readers. But it angered others.
I attempted to explain unaccountable actions of government as the fruit of temporary insanity caused by powerful medicine, “or in rare cases, alcohol or drugs.”
Humor, of course, cannot be explained. But anger can. And if warranted, deserves an apology. I apologize for the use of the word stupidity. It is an insulting word, no matter how it is used. My three examples of unexplainable decisions were (1) Congress voting on health care without reading the bill, (2) the Federal Government defeating the enemy in Iraq at great expense and then abandoning the country to the enemy and (3) the Federal Government signing trade agreements which apparently benefit every country but the U.S.
I was looking for examples that readers could agree were stupid or illogical. And I offered a whimsical explanation, temporary incapacitation by medicine, alcohol or drugs.
The explanation was ridiculous because even if strong medicine could affect a person’s judgment, it is beyond mathematical odds that every Democrat would be taking the same or similar medicine at the same time. I was, in fact, stretching for the sake of humor and poking fun at myself for advancing such an outrageous idea.
Now the war and trade agreements occurred during both Republican and Democratic administrations, so there is little reason for partisan ire. Unless you believe the mistakes were made by one party alone and don’t want those decisions held to ridicule.
But the health care law was passed only by Democrats, without a single Republican vote. So my using that as an example certainly could be construed as a partisan attack. I was focused on the decision, and not on the partisan nature of the vote. I apologize for offending Democratic readers.
The heat generated by the column, however, opens up for review the decision to vote without reading.
I called my explanation for the unexplainable Bonner’s Gambit and jokingly asked for readers to help confirm that conclusion.
As I didn’t name any congressmen, I thought we could all have a good laugh at no one’s expense.
But now I would like to open the discussion up and ask readers to offer their own ideas on why congressmen would vote on a bill without reading it.
I’m sure that among our readers there are some with experience in government who can give a logical explanation for the famous vote.
And I am just as sure that their experience will produce some explanations that are funnier than the one I proposed.
Famously, Mark Twain found out after he wrote “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County” that a classical Greek had written a similar story. Twain was astounded because he was not familiar with the Greek story when he wrote his own.
I hope my hypothesis is original and another version does not crop up somewhere. We don’t need a hypothesis eruption, or a person in charge of hypothesis eruptions. I assure you I came upon the idea when I was at the medicine cabinet and accidentally hit my funny bone. And I have the pill labels and bruise to prove it.
Somebody once wrote that analysis kills spontaneity. The grain once ground into flour springs and germinates no more.
I realize that my analysis has ground out what little humor there was in my column. But I hope in its place will spring forth two or more explanations for the vote-without-reading. Of course I am looking for humorous solutions. But I don’t condemn logical explanations. If there is a logical reason that will add to the credit of the congressmen who participated in the famous vote, bring it on.
In any case I apologize if I hit your funny bone wrong.
Send your alternate suggestions or votes for Bonner’s Gambit to my email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 1101 Maurertown Mill Road, Maurertown 22644.
Bonner Day raises cattle in the Valley while keeping his eyes peeled for the funny side of life.