Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You can't make me if I'm not there!

My apologies in advance to my little sister, whom I dearly love!

Laura hated spinach when she was little.  I haven't had the chance to ask her lately how she feels about it, but when she was a little girl, Laura hated spinach, probably more than my kids hate any of their "hate" foods.  She hated spinach so much, that by the age of 4, she had a strategy in place to avoid it.  Every evening, she'd nonchalantly wander into the kitchen and sweetly inquire "What's for dinner?"  95% of the time, the item being prepared was not offensive to her, and she'd go on her merry way, waiting for the food to be ready.  But on the nights when the answer was spinach?  It didn't matter if it was the main course - as in Spinach Casserole - or if it was just a part of the meal - like Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, salad and cooked spinach.  If spinach was anywhere on the menu, the plan went into action.

On the face, it was a pretty good plan.  She didn't throw a tantrum or get mad or upset, like most kids would.  It wasn't even obvious that she had a plan.  She simply said "ok" and walked out of the kitchen, apparently on her merry way, just as she did any other night.  Then she'd go to her room, climb onto her bed, and fall asleep.  Thus avoiding any chance that she'd be required to actually eat said spinach.

It took our parents a while to catch on to this tactic.  For quite a while, it was just "Oh, Laura fell asleep again.  I guess she'll miss dinner."  No one woke her up.  She simply slept through the meal and the rest of the night.  It probably took at least a year before someone said "Have you ever noticed that when we're having spinach for dinner Laura always manages to fall asleep before dinner?"  Lightbulb!

That's when the real struggle began, because the rule became "if you fall asleep before dinner, we'll wake you up so you can eat with us."  That's when she went the route other children did - tantrums, crying, begging, hiding the spinach.  You name it, she tried it.  (Well, she did - thankfully - skip the "throw it up" trick, which I used at the age of 4 to effectively keep okra out of the house until after I left home!)

Happily, such behavior is strictly the domain of small children.  Or is it?  Am I wrong, or is the recent behavior of the Wisconsin and Indiana democrats essentially the same thing?  They knew what was being served (because these were the issues that were being campaigned on, the promises that were being made by the politicians that ultimately won the seats).  But they don't want what's being served, so they're just going to disappear.  They're off to "take a nap" while the wheels of democracy grind to a halt.  Can't have democracy without a quorum.  Can't have a quorum without at least some of those democrats.

So, how long will we allow politicians to act like 4 year olds?