On the shore with us are two groups of people. They are both yelling at us. "Don't just stand there! Do something!" they cry out from one group, "mind your own business if you know what is good for you" say people in the other.
The people in one group, we will call them "right wingers," are throwing what appear to be bricks out into the water. The bricks have slogans written on them - "self reliance" and "personal responsibility" and "free enterprise" and "free markets."
"Why are you throwing bricks at those people?" we ask
"It is for their own good. They need to learn discipline and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The bricks will trickle down, and they can stand on them" is the reply from one of them. "Besides, they asked us for the bricks, or at least half of them did."
We then point out "but some of your friends are intentionally throwing the bricks at the heads of the people."
"Collateral damage. Can't be helped. If we restrict the right of the brick thrower to take iniative, the moral fiber of the country will decline. Life is tough. That is the way it is. I climbed out on the bricks, and so can they," is the snarling reply from the man.
"But you yourself were born on a pile of bricks above the water," we remind him.
"Look, that may be true, but the principles are the same" he says. "Are you trying to start class warfare or make trouble? Lake America is the greatest lake on earth, and you are trying to tear it down."
The other group of people, who we will call "liberals," is mostly yelling. They yell at us "do something, you idiots!" They yell at the people in the water "are you all stupid? What good are bricks? How ignorant can you all be?" But they don't ever yell very much at the brick throwers. They yell about them a lot, but never at them. They send groveling letters to them begging and pleading with them. Some of them they even praise and admire.
The rest of their time and energy goes into throwing ping pong balls out into the water. The balls have inscriptions on them - "we care" and "make good choices" and "socially responsible investing" and "gun control" and "choice" and "organic" and "go green" and "help is on the way." Some of the balls look suspiciously like bricks, just painted white to look like ping pong balls. Instead of "personal responsibility" written on them, they say "personal choices" and an occasional "wake up you stupid Neanderthals." Those are thrown at anyone who criticizes liberals in any way.
"What is the point of doing that?" we ask.
"What do you mean? Can't you see that people are drowning?" is the reply.
"Well, yes," we say. "We do see that."
"Well then what's your problem? Are you trying to tell us that ping pong balls don't float or something?" is the comeback.
"They aren't saving anyone" we say.
"Oh, there you go with your negativity. At least we are doing something, which is more than I can say for you. You can stand by if you want to, but I will be able to say that I did something instead of just whining." they say, growing angrier.
"Doing something is fine," we say, "but can't we discuss doing things that might be more effective?"
"What are you trying to do? Discourage people? We need unity, and we need a positive attitude. It is your fault that the brick throwers are winning! Look, we don't have time for this. You have two choices - bricks or ping pong balls. Be realistic."
Then we say "nevertheless, what you are doing isn't working - hasn't worked for a long time. Maybe we don't have the situation analyzed correctly."
"Analyzed? We don't have time for a lot of talk and empty rhetoric. OK, if you are so smart, what is your alternative?"
"We could run off the brick throwers, and then wade in and rescue the people" we say.
"What??? Are you nuts? That is too radical. The people will never go for that. You and your kind are a bunch of wild eyed fanatics making us look bad. And you are just a tiny fringe who will never amount to anything. No one agrees with you. We will just see who makes the most progress - our constructive work or your crazy dreams."
And the people keep drowning.
We are obliged at this time to struggle, with all the Powers with which the Constitution hath furnished us, in Defence of our Rights; to prevent the most valuable of our Liberties from being wrested from us, by the subtle Machinations, and daring Encroachments of wicked Ministers. - Sam Adams 1771