Monday, October 31, 2011

The Nuclear Option

The topic today is "extremes" ... specifically, the so-called "nuclear option."

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked a parliamentary procedure colloquially known as the nuclear option to break a deadlock between Republicans and Democrats. The Congressional nuclear option is a unilateral change to the rules of the Senate intended to prevent one party (in this case, the Republicans) from forcing votes on additional amendments to legislation after the Senate has voted to move that legislation forward to final passage. Such a change in the rules is, obviously, anathema to the outmaneuvered party, which tends to scream bloody murder about it, secure in the knowledge that it would do the same thing in a New York minute if it served their own purposes. This is what I would call hypocritical stupidity, but what do I know?

There is, however, another nuclear option.

This is a photograph of the last B53 thermonuclear bomb in the US arsenal, taken just before it was dismantled at a plant near Amarillo, Texas:

The B53 was about the size of a soccer mom's minivan, and weighed nearly ten thousand pounds. It had the destructive equivalent of about 600 of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War ... its detonation would leave a crater 750 feet deep, and kill everything within a radius of ten miles.

Now that, Dear Readers, is a nuclear option. Fortunately, we as a people have shown rare good judgment by deciding to eliminate all 340 of these enormous bombs that were built for the American Cold War arsenal.

Considering the cold and brutal reality of the B53 bomb, I have to wonder if it's accurate to compare what may be the single most1 destructive weapon in human history to a parliamentary dodge designed to sidestep bureaucratic obstinacy. Perhaps in the long run, Congressional refusal to behave in a rational adult fashion will yield overall results to our democratic society comparable to the devastation of the B53, but it would be nice to believe that even our current stable of ideologically rigid ass clowns will see reason before they leave a 750-foot crater where good governance used to be.

Unfortunately, I have my doubts.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


1 Yes, I know that single most is redundant. I used it for effect. Sue me.



Chrissy said...

I love your disclaimer at the end. It made me giggle out loud

Duckbutt said...

There currently is a hole there: 435 of them, to be exact.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

People recognize the dangers of thermonuclear warfare. THere's a tendency for many people in charge to play politics for funzies, like it's some game without the bragging rights that goes with football or b-ball around here.

[UNC is #1 in the prseason poll.]

Mike said...

We want our big bombs back! How can we be safe without big bombs.

Wv: barbasp - A snake with a hook tongue.

allenwoodhaven said...

Tom Lehrer wrote a great song, Who's Next, about nuclear proliferation. It's very funny but is also sad, since it is/was true.
If you haven't heard it, find it. It's worth a listen.