This House is On Fire
Bernie Goldberg's analogy puts the "fiscal cliff" and the supposed "leaders" and the alleged watchdog media of this nation in blunt layman's terms...
Imagine that you’re standing outside on the street, in the bitter cold of the night, dressed in your pajamas. In horror, you’re watching your home engulfed in flames. Imagine that the fire fighters have arrived, and with them are all the trucks, hoses, and other equipment required to start attacking the fire.
You know a lot of damage has already been done to your house, but the foundation is solid, many of your belongings can still be saved, and you’re certain you can rebuild if the fire is put out in time. The problem is that there are two lead firemen standing in your front yard, arguing over how best to extinguish the flames. While the fire spreads and your house continues to burn, they keep arguing with neither of them giving in an inch. You’re forced to watch helplessly as everything you’ve built up over the years is being destroyed.
This is essentially what’s happening right now with the ‘fiscal cliff’ discussions in Washington, and really with every time-sensitive, partisan battle (including the debt ceiling, annual budgets, etc) that has taken place over the U.S. economy in the past few years. You are the ‘informed public’ because you see the overall problem, recognize how it effects you, and are expecting the people whose salaries you pay to actually fix the problem. The house on fire is the collapsing state of the economy. The two firemen are our elected leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties. The ‘uninformed public’ is your next-door neighbor who calmly steps outside of his house to watch the light display. With a big smile on his face, your neighbor records the fire on his iPhone, and wonders how long it will take to upload the video to YouTube later. He doesn’t really seem to understand the situation, and is oblivious to the very real threat of the large, swirling flames soon jumping from your house to his house.
Your frustration turns to anger over the inability of the firemen to act professional, formulate a plan, and save your house. You run up to them to try and figure out what their problem is, and are shocked to hear the source of the stalemate. The fireman with the “R” printed on his helmet is proposing to hook up the hoses to fire-hydrants, and douse the flames with large quantities of water. The fireman with the “D” printed on his helmet is proposing to hook up the hoses to gasoline-tankers, and douse the flames with as much gasoline as possible.
You quickly realize that Fireman D is either dangerously ignorant or completely insane, but Fireman R’s lower rank won’t let him take control away from Fireman D to resolve the situation.
Reporters from the media show up and begin covering the fire with their lights and cameras. You run up to them and explain what’s going on, and beg them to get the message out that you’re going to lose your house because the guy in charge isn’t taking the situation seriously. You hope that the media exposure will pressure Fireman D into doing the right thing. To your shock, however, you find that the media is on Fireman D’s side. They broadcast live on the evening news that Fireman R is “obstructing” Fireman D from doing his job, and a house is going to be completely destroyed because of it.
You shout at the reporters in frustration, but they tell you you’re “just angry”, and suggest that your anger is “racially motivated”.
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