The Fork

There’s a common tactic in chess called a fork, in which a player forces his or her opponent into a no-win decision. Either move results in a painful loss of material; the only option available is an unpleasant choice of what to lose.

The fork is a common tactic in larger arenas, too. As an example: A crisis appears suddenly, apparently unexpected, shocking and frightening in its implications. A solution is quickly presented, formulated by the very players who led us unaware to the edge of the cliff. High pressure is applied to accept this solution, despite its own significant flaws and dangers, supposedly in order to avoid something far, far worse.

It’s sobering to see that even in the midst of a potential economic hell-storm that’s only in its gathering stages, there are individuals and factions who still seem to be gaming, seeking to turn a looming disaster to their quick advantage, financially, politically, or both. One positive aspect of that is, the bastards are showing themselves. They can’t help it, an opportunist is an opportunist, and if we can see them, we can at least put up a fight.

Here in the US we have our own opportunity coming up. On November 4th, 2008, in addition to the Presidential race, all seats in the House and one-third of them in the Senate are coming up for election. Some criminal charges would be a bonus, but today I’m not that much of an optimist.

Still, my hope is that with the help of the press (traditional and alternative), the people will demand their just representation, the truth can come to light, and a workable path forward can be found and followed. If it’s going to hurt, and it is, let’s make sure those in power know we’re watching, and that we won’t accept it if our pain starts to become someone else’s gain. (Here’s a good place to start watch-dogging, phone-calling and letter-writing.)

At the first sign of covert profiteering, opportunistic maneuvering, empty partisan showboating, half-truths or obfuscation, our public servants should know that they risk getting sent straight home in November. The party, to which 99.9% of us were not invited, is over.