For those of you Spirited Reasoners who are unfamiliar with the game of Chicken, here’s how it works:
Two teenagers, each having gained possession of a souped-up Dodge Charger, find a straight stretch of country road during the wee hours of the night. A crowd of like-minded classmates—or perhaps they are former classmates because many are now classified as dropouts—crank up their heavy metal music as loud as possible while tossing their now-empty cans of beer onto the dusty shoulders of the highway.
One teenager—we’ll call him Bubba—has positioned his Charger approximately one quarter mile to the south, with his powerful modified V-8 engine facing north. The other teenager—we’ll call him Jimmy Bob—has positioned his competing car approximately one quarter mile to the north, with his equally powerful engine facing south. A neutral spectator—we’ll call him Butch—holds a red neckerchief high in the air, then releases it as a signal to the two drivers to start their engines.
The spectators cheer as the Chargers roar, now hurtling toward each other at an ever-increasing speed.
There is only one rule. The driver who swerves first to avoid the other car is the loser, destined for eternal shame as a Chicken. The driver who stays the course is the winner, destined to receive eternal plaudits, especially from the dropouts in the crowd.
What happens, you ask, if no one swerves? Then, of course, we have two winners. Two dead teenagers. Each of whom will be remembered as a winner in a game glorified by high school dropouts.
Which is what we are witnessing in Congress as I write these words (except for the beer and loud music.)
Moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives have let it be known that they will refuse to support the more progressive $3.5 trillion spending bill unless the Senate’s bipartisan $1 billion infrastructure bill is passed first.
Meanwhile, progressive Democrats have let it be known that they will refuse to support the more moderate infrastructure bill unless the $3.5 trillion spending bill becomes law first.
Each bloc of Democrats seems to be sufficiently large to kill both bills if neither bloc gets its way.
Which brings me to my closing question: Which behavior is more idiotic—that of the teenagers who stand to kill each other if they both “win” the game, or that of highly educated Congressional Democrats who stand to wreck an entire nation?