So, we've talked ourselves off of the ledge and life may go on for a while, but we aren't out of the slough of geographical idiomatic despond as yet. There's still a ceiling overhead, and just like Alice, we really aren't certain what pill makes us larger and what pill makes us small.
There's another geographical feature that comes to my mind when I think about all of the issues facing us in 2013 and the journey that must be taken to deal with them somehow, someway.
A cutbank is, according to Answers.com, "The concave bank of a winding stream that is maintained as a steep or even overhanging cliff by the action of water at its base."
Anything built at the top of a cutbank will eventually crumble into the river, and be washed away. I don't think I have to spell it out for you.
Our national debt isn't the only thing perched up there. Several thousand victims of Hurricane Sandy are huddled on that ledge. A small city of the homeless and unemployed. Most of our national infrastructure is up there. A lot of new ideas.
All in danger of being undercut by the political action swirling at the base. And by "political action," I actually mean "political inaction," brought to you (by and large, all things considered, and for the most part) by the current Republican House. This is a Republican House that insists that flood control measures to prevent further damage from subsequent storms are actually "stimulus projects" and are to be rejected out of hand. This is a Republican House that seems to think that people getting unemployment would, should that largesse be taken away, "have to get work," apparently in some mythical state where work is now and always has been available for all of those who want or need it. This is a Republican House that believes that innovation comes solely from one individual working away in a cellar somewhere, supported solely by his/her inlaws, until the next new idea is baked and ready for its public offering.
This is a Republican House that believes in belief. That sticks to its guns (a subject for another time). That doesn't compromise on values. I don't have a belief gene. What I do have is the ability to recognize that flood control measures will likely save lives and money. That people can't get jobs that don't exist. And that nobody does anything worth doing all by themselves.
If we hit the ceiling, if the sump pump fails, if your brother-in-law has to move in, and you can't figure out where to put everybody because he's a Republican and he says that's your problem, pin it on the 112th. The House of Representatives. The Republican Caucus. They have been the stalwart rocks in the middle of the stream saving us from ourselves. Bless their rigid little hearts.