The election is over. By now you are either ecstatic with the results, depressed over the results or didn’t much care all along. I’ve listened to spokesmen from the parties (two or three depending on whether you think the Tea Party folks will play well in the Republican sandbox.) Given their disparate agendas, I forecast much flash and noise and little of substance for the next two years. Therefore, I have a proposal:
In the lame duck session extend all laws that were going to expire before the next general election by two years. (For example, the Bush tax cuts in their entirety would remain in effect through 2011 and 2012 as would the most recent health care legislation.) Without such a blanket extension, there may be minor tweaks to current laws, but that’s the most that can happen. Republicans controlling the House may have other ideas, but Republicans in the Senate need a dozen or so Democrats/Independents to support any cloture vote to even address the House-passed legislation and even more to override a presidential veto. Therefore, nothing major will pass in the next two years unless there is truly bi-partisan agreement.
We’ll keep Congress on the payroll and force them to sit down as a committee of the whole and talk to each other about how to fix the various messes we are in. Should they come to agreement on something, they would have to write the bill in language they can understand themselves. They are mostly lawyers, so in theory they have the training for this minor task. While Clarence Thomas and I might never agree on the Original Intent of the country’s “Fathers” when they wrote the US Constitution, we could agree that they wrote their own material and it seems to have held up well over a couple of centuries.
In the meantime, the Senate should provide its advice and consent (or dissent) on any treaties, judicial nominations and administration nominations presented to it. Since they won’t be doing much else, they might actually clear the backlog of nominations. Vote them up or vote them down, but no more hanging people out to dry in limbo. (We authors know what that feels like when we send out queries, partials and full manuscripts that agents neither pass on nor accept us as clients.)
What productive use can we make of all the House and Senate staffers no longer drawing paychecks? They should apply their talents to writing Science Fiction. They have the requisite training. Consider:
. They create alternate realities out of whole cloth.
. Only science fiction and fantasy can get away with 2000+ page manuscripts (reference the most recent health care reform bill.)
. They already are adept at the new trend of product placement in their writing. This could be particularly helpful in providing them financial support should they choose to self-publish after discovering no one much cares for their alternate realities.
. From their previous training they have met an interesting cast of characters from which to model their protagonist, antagonists and even aliens if they choose to base their fiction on another world.
. They work long hours with little public acknowledgment of their work, which is what happens to most authors.
I’m rooting for a few to succeed. Surely, with so much talent some could produce novels worthy of reading.
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.