I hunted ducks for years. You would get to the duck blind in the early morning, still dark.
You would spread your decoys and then crawl into your blind, making sure it (and you) were well camouflaged. And you would wait.
Before the sun inched its way over the eastern horizon, you would begin hearing sounds of the morning flight taking shape. Large “Vs” of mallards, high overhead, quacking incessantly, wings flapping hard to keep up, small groups spinning off the main body, looking for cover.
Next, and with the best intentions, you would lay on your duck call, squawking, chucking, cackling, in short; trying your best to get the overhead mallards’ attention.
Small groups of ducks would break off the main “V” and circle a few times to make sure it was safe to land. They would set their wings and slowly glide over the decoys. In unison the blind’s doors would be thrown open and steel shot would fill the crisp morning air.
Some of the ducks fell dead with a resounding splash. Others, wounded by the onslaught, would spin to the ground and dart into the heavy cover. These are the ones you had to worry about. They were lame ducks, wounded and with no hope of recovery, now separated from their group, hiding in the frost-covered reeds along the banks of the Platte River.
The same thing is about to happen again, this time along the banks of the Potomac River that glides through Washington D.C. Dozens of congressmen and women, politically wounded with no hope of recovery, were blasted out of office by angry hunters. These lame ducks will crawl into the darkened cloakrooms for one last ditch attempt to pass legislation affecting our lives, with no accountability to voters, who have already emptied their guns at the polls.
This fall, Washington will have more lame ducks hiding in the weeds since the 40s. Politically wounded they must take up a full slate of activity before year end, at which time they will limp back to their home states and join the ranks of the unemployed. Normally, lame duck sessions can be quite dull. This season that is unlikely because the parties have been too busy fighting each other instead of doing the people’s work. Now, instead of flying around in formation, making lots of noise, these lame ducks have to do what they like to do the least, go to work!
First and foremost, the government has once again hit its spending limit. The government has no more money to operate and would face a shutdown if this bloody Congress doesn’t increase our debt limit by Dec. 3, 2010, allowing us to borrow even more money to pay the country’s bills. (This Congress spends about $10 billion a day, of which they must borrow nearly $4 billion a day. Do we wonder why so many of them have been fired?)
Secondly, the Bush tax cuts are about to expire. If they are not extended American families will face a huge tax increase next year. The $1,000 per child would be cut in half, and taxes would increase on investments. Other tax laws need amended or millions of families will be hit with the alternative minimum tax (AMT) costing those families thousands of additional tax dollars.
There are other important items Congress ignored as they spent the last few months flying around begging us for money and votes. Social Security recipients are waiting to see if they will get a $250 increase. Unemployment benefits are about to expire … again. Medicare payments to doctors are set to be reduced if Congress doesn’t act. (If Congress had worked half as hard as the people they govern, America would be in much better shape.)
This Congress has so mismanaged the people’s business because they chose to play parliamentary games for two years, it’s no wonder so many lame ducks are flitting around the nation’s capital. They forgot who they worked for and the American people reminded them last week as to who’s the boss. Many of these politicians deserved to be culled from the flock, but before they return to their former congressional districts, they have to finish the work we hired them to do. It will be an interesting duck season to see if they act like patriots or partisans.
Then, in January, the new ducklings with their new promises will descend on Washington. The people will be out there early, setting their decoys, waiting for the morning flight to begin once again. We will be listening for the rush of wings, intently watching and waiting for the sun to break over the horizon to see if this new day will be any different from the past.
I won’t hold my breath. If history repeats itself, and Washington changes the ducklings into ugly swans, then duck season will begin all over again in a couple of years.