Three Men in a Small Boat

A Modern Parable

Three men are in a small boat far from shore. The boat is being circled by hungry sharks boatwhen it suddenly springs a leak. Two of the men start desperately trying to fix the leak and bail out the boat, but the third man starts examining the tools, and complaining about the quality of the bucket.

That’s pretty much where we find ourselves in this election cycle.

There are two lousy candidates running for President (and two minor candidates who are a complete waste of time and attention as they’re an irrelevant sideshow). One of those two is going to be elected President. That person will be deciding who to nominate to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), possibly THE most important decision a President can make, because the effect of that decision can last for decades. That President will most likely be appointing one, and possibly two, more within a pretty short period.

Trump has promised to replace Scalia with a nominee of like kind, and has released a list of very appealing candidates. Clinton has very publicly stated that she thinks the Citizens United (First Amendment) and Heller (Second Amendment) rulings should be reversed.

That issue alone makes the choice a very easy one. One candidate will do his best to nominate SCOTUS Justices who will work to preserve our constitutional rights; the other will try her hardest to sink those same rights.

It’s an easy choice for any conservative to make. As repulsive as Trump is, Clinton is worse by orders of magnitude. And we have a ship of state to save!

Oh, but wait…!

The NeverTrump people are much more concerned with preserving their own conservative “purity”, and won’t vote for Trump. The quality of the bucket… or candidate… is belowboat2 their standard of acceptability. They absolutely REFUSE to compromise their “integrity” by deigning to use such low-quality tools. For them, it’s nobler to let the damned boat… or country… sink than to soil their hands with such demeaning material.

They fail to recognize, or accept, that when the boat goes down those hungry sharks are going to gobble them up right along with the guys who tried desperately to keep the boat afloat.

Because the sharks don’t care.

©Brian Baker 2016

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

 

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29 comments on “Three Men in a Small Boat

  1. Virginia Patriot says:

    The establishment only cares about one thing.
    Keeping the citizens from reversing their 30 year bipartisan policy of non-enforcement of immigration laws and borders.
    The illegal alien inundation was intentional.
    The Bush family is largely responsible for us having 30 million illegal aliens.
    Bush I was the President who was supposed to implement the enforcement measures of Simpson/Mazzolli that were supposed to obviate a need for another amnesty.
    All we have been offered since then are more amnesties.
    Never any enforcement. Bush II even REDUCED border and interior enforcement AFTER 9/11, totally unforgivable.
    In every election since the last amnesty we have only had amnesty candidates.
    This was not accidental.
    This time they got Trumped and they are mightily ticked off about it.
    They have been importing fraudulently documented foreigners to use them to dilute our votes to steal our country from us.
    This is our last chance.

    • BrianR says:

      I deleted your content for not abiding by my rule, clearly posted on my home page, of maintaining a civil tone.

      You’re certainly welcome to disagree with me, and state why you do. PLENTY of people have done so, and their comments are all here for anyone to see. I’ve been in some very interesting debates, in fact.

      But we don’t go down the road of personal insults here. Period.

  2. Nee says:

    Sounds a little like my kid in Redding! 🙂 But, yep. Spot on.

  3. captbogus2 says:

    Win or Lose. I sincerely hope that every voter remembers those politicians who could not support Trump out of conscience or whatever their hypocritical reasoning put forth. Paul Ryan should become an historical footnote in a 7th Grade History book. Jeb Bush doesn’t even rate a footnote mention. Kasich should also become a political non entity. All of them have no integrity and no honor.

    • BrianR says:

      Absolutely agreed, Buck!

      Especially for former GOP candidates like Kasich and Jebbie!!!.

      What ever happened to their pledges to support whomever won the nomination? Turned out they weren’t worth the paper they were written on, other than as TP.

  4. garnet92 says:

    Your essay prompts an interesting question. Obviously, I’m not privy to the intent of all voters across the country, but in my limited experience, I’ve seen so many NeverTrump people finally come around and, albeit grudgingly, decide to vote for Trump. I’m just wondering how many real hardcore NeverTrump people are still maintaining their “purity.” Hillary is a really convincing force.

    • BrianR says:

      Like minds, Garnet. I’ve been seeing the same thing. I also wonder how many of them will continue to proclaim their “purity” even AFTER they secretly vote for him in the booth.

      • captbogus2 says:

        I don’t believe the “Purists” will vote secretly for Trump. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize by their stance or whatever you call it aids no one but Hillary. If they are that open in supporting Hillary then they must have been in the tank for her AND the DC establishment over conservative values all the frikkin’ time.

      • BrianR says:

        Could be. As I wrote in my last column, I really don’t have much of a clue as to what’s going on this time around.

  5. CW says:

    Perhaps the man who’s complaining about the bucket is having reservations because once they save themselves from the sharks the bucket becomes the leader of the free world for the next four years. Maybe he’s been through this scenario multiple times now, always being promised that if he helps save the boat from the sharks THIS TIME that NEXT TIME they’ll steer the boat to dry land, but they always go back on their word and wonder aimlessly year after year. Maybe he doesn’t trust them anymore because they had a pretty good bucket on board, a bucket that might have helped get them to dry land at last, but the others tossed it out to sea because the less sturdy bucket was shinier.

    I don’t mean to nitpick the analogy, Brian, and I do understand the cold, hard reality of the sharks, but when the reluctant (or the “Never”) are repeatedly portrayed as nothing but petty, stubborn people throwing themselves to the sharks for silly reasons I’m going to rise to their defense. I share your disgust with people who could accept a RINO like Jeb but not a RINO like Trump, yet there are also those who are drawing a line in the sand because they are being called on the carpet to “unite” behind something they never signed up for. I get that the sharks are circling, but if the goal is to persuade the anti-Trump crowd there ought to be a better way that doesn’t involve the suggestion that they’re all just petty and indifferent to reality.

  6. cyn3wulf says:

    As the waves tossed the mighty ship, the crew were busy trying to keep it afloat. There was much to be done as the ship had been through trying times; the sails were thin and the moth had been at work on them, the rigging was a tangle of knots, the mast had been weakened by a cannon ball, and there was a gash in the hull under the waterline. The crew was exhausted from manning the pumps day and night and from the heavy seas that threatened to broach the ship at any moment.

    After trying to fix the leak several times, it was decided to fother an old sail over the compromised portion of the hull. At this point, a few crew members stepped back, and one of them said, “I don’t think I can go along with this. It’s not quite regulation, is it?” Another member said, “What are you talking about? Of course it isn’t! It’s an emergency measure. It may or may not work, but it’s the only option we have left. We’ve tried the regulation repairs over and over again, and they’re not taking. The pumps aren’t keeping up with the intake of water. We’re out of time. We’ve got to try this last desperate measure before we go down.”

    Most of the crew murmurs agreement, but the first one said, “Be that as it may, I cannot go along with this. I will not be a party to this abomination. We finally had the perfect piece of wood for the repair, and you go and decide to do this instead. Well you can do it without my blessing and without my help.” I’m taking the launch and whoever wants to come with me. We’ll have a better chance of making it than we will on this death trap. Who’s with me?”

    Two other crew members joined him, and the lowered the launch into the tumultuous sea. After a few days, the seas calmed, and the ship was still afloat. The pumps were still at work but not constantly, and not at such a frantic rate. The crew had managed to fother the sail over the hole, greatly reducing the amount of water coming in. The rigging had been put in order, and the mast had been reinforced. While it was no sure thing that they would make it back to shore, their chances had been greatly increased.

    Two days after that, they came across the launch. The crew on the launch looked shattered, and the sail was in shreds. They took turns manning the oars. As they came within hailing distance, the captain of the launch called out, “Could you take us back on board? Or at least gives us another sail?” While most of the crew on the ship jeered at them, one called back, “I’m afraid you’re no longer members of this crew, mate. And as for the sail, we’re out of regulation sized sails for that particular vessel. Best of luck to you!” With that, he pressed his knuckles to his forehead in salute as the gap between the two vessels began to widen.

    Moral of the Story: Sometimes the destination of the “high road” is a dead end.

    • BrianR says:

      Man… I remember when you used to write those great stories as TH, and I’d constantly bug you for more.

      And this is why.

      Thanks, bro.

      • cyn3wulf says:

        Thanks! Those were a lot of fun to write, and that was a great community. As I recall, it exploded during the ’08 election season. People seem to gloss over the deep divides that were evident back then and even before.

        We had Romney peeps who refused to back McCain because they thought he had unfairly used Romney’s Mormonism against him. We had a base that was not excited at all for their candidate until he picked his VP. When have you ever seen a party’s base get more excited about the VP than the presidential nominee?

        And yet when that happened, some of the establishment peeps abandoned ship even though they had their GOPe candidate. The VP was too conservative for them, and the siren call of Hope and Change infected them. Let’s face it, they didn’t try very hard to resist the call.

        Then you had the truly principled people who refused to vote for McCain. And the Vote For The Guy With The R Next To His Name types that were pissed at everyone because they weren’t voting for the guy with the R next to his name. What a mess.

        We should have had a reckoning then. That was delayed when Hope and Change turned out to be short on Hope and long on a Change that was for the worse. We might have avoided it altogether if the the Republicans that voters put into the House and Senate had rewarded the voters with fidelity. But they didn’t, and here we are.

        Anyway, I can’t take all of the credit for this piece; it’s based on an incident involving the HMS Leopard in Patrick O’Brian’s Desolation Island.

      • BrianR says:

        Yeah, I was in the “refuse to vote for McCain camp” because I thought he was just as bad on the issues as Obozo, and also Figured we WOULD have that reckoning with the GOP then.

        Of course, THAT turned out to be wrong. The GOP chose to just become even worse instead. And now they’ve brought Trump upon themselves as a result.

        Yep, I well remember all the acrimony. You’re right; the ’08 election blew that community to smithereens.

      • cyn3wulf says:

        So, when’s the next post going to be up? Pre or post election?

      • BrianR says:

        Post. There’s really nothing more to say, so now it’s just a wait-and-see what the results are, and go from there.

      • cyn3wulf says:

        Figured as much. Looking forward to it.

      • BrianR says:

        Me, too… kinda…

    • CW says:

      >>”Another member said….’it’s the only option we have left.’”

      The only option? Was it really???

      It is “similarity in significant respects” that makes an analogy an analogy. Otherwise it’s just a story.

      • cyn3wulf says:

        “The only option? Was it really???”

        Indeed. You mistake your perception for that of the voters.

        In any event, it’s just a story. Nothing to waste 3 question marks over…

      • CW says:

        I “wasted” 3 question marks on it because I’m tired of the dishonesty that’s surrounded this election, one example being the cheeky pretense that your story wasn’t meant to be an analogy. It’s not enough that the Trump diehards have forced us to vote for him or have Hillary. Now we must also pretend that conservatism wasn’t thrown overboard to get to this place. And what do you mean when you say “I mistake my perception for that of the voters”? In the first place, I AM a voter. Secondly, the standard that was conservatism until Trump came along didn’t exist solely in my imagination, and there’s no shortage of evidence to look back on to verify that. So the insinuation that my perception differs from reality is false.

      • cyn3wulf says:

        “I ‘wasted’ 3 question marks on it because I’m tired of the dishonesty that’s surrounded this election, one example being the cheeky pretense that your story wasn’t meant to be an analogy.”
        If I recall correctly, it was you that said it was just a story. I was just agreeing with you, mostly because it is, in fact, a story. If you want to be pedantic, however, it would be an allegory rather than an analogy. By the way, your accusation of dishonesty is interesting since you decided to use the 1.2 part of the definition of allegory while neglecting the 1.1 part: “A correspondence or partial similarity.” Perhaps a mild case of projection on your part. In any event, both analogy and allegory are literary devices that are employed in the telling of a story.

        “It’s not enough that the Trump diehards have forced us to vote for him or have Hillary.”
        Your use of the word “diehard” here is curious. If the definition is “a person who strongly opposes change or who continues to support something in spite of opposition” then that word seems to apply to the NeverTrump crowd. They strongly oppose the candidate of change, and they support other candidates in spite of strong opposition from voters in their own party.

        “Now we must also pretend that conservatism wasn’t thrown overboard to get to this place.”
        “Conservatism” has become, mostly, a meaningless term, and it was thrown overboard long before this election year. In fact, that’s why we have Trump. The People are tired of “conservatives” not fulfilling their obligations as conservatives. “Conservatives” have allowed things to get to such a state that we are past the point of needing a conservative in charge; we are not at the point where we need a nationalist in charge. Enter Donald Trump. I don’t agree with everything this guy writes, mainly because I’m not catholic, but he makes some good points: http://www.catholicamericanthinker.com/Conservatism.html

        “And what do you mean when you say ‘I mistake my perception for that of the voters’?”
        Simply that. When you wrote “The only option? Was it really???” you were going off of your individual perception. You thought there were other options. The voters, plural, though, thought differently. Trump was the only option. The only one that mattered anyway. It may be that the voters are wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that they perceived no other meaningful option.

        “In the first place, I AM a voter. Secondly, the standard that was conservatism until Trump came along didn’t exist solely in my imagination, and there’s no shortage of evidence to look back on to verify that.”
        If the standard of conservatism that existed until Trump is the one as exhibited by most Republican representatives and senators, it doesn’t matter if it was in your imagination or not. That “conservatism” has been rejected. If Trump only succeeds at a couple things (stemming the tide of illegal immigration, regrowing the middle class, shrinking corruption in DC, neutering mainstream media, etc.) then true conservatives will have a chance (they will have to earn it, it’s not a given) to further right the listing ship. But first it has to be kept from sinking.

        “So the insinuation that my perception differs from reality is false.” As I have noted, for purposes of the points being discussed, it doesn’t matter if it’s your perception or the voters perception that differs from reality. It just matters that your perception differs from theirs.

        All of this, though, misses the larger point of my story. Let me ask you a question: If Donald Trump wins without the help of “true conservatives” and manages to succeed at even just a couple of the big things he wants to do (say building the wall that conservatives have been saying they’re going to build forever now and bringing back the middle class by bringing back quality blue collar jobs) without the help of “true conservatives,” what place in the coming realignment do you think “true conservatives” will have? Perhaps a reading the The Little Red Hen would be appropriate here.

      • BrianR says:

        Cyne, I’m sorry for the delay in letting this through. I just now saw it. I never got an email notification. I have no idea what happened. Sorry!

      • cyn3wulf says:

        Oh, no worries, Brian. Thanks for hosting the discussion; I should probably get back into this at some point…

      • CW says:

        @Cyn3wolf

        When I tell a story that employs an analogy in order to convey a point, I don’t respond when challenged on it by dodging and making pretenses about what I was doing. That’s one big difference between us.

        I used the term “diehard” to distinguish between those who were enthusiastic about Trump all along and those such as Brian, myself and a lot of other non-democrats who see him only as the last alternative to Hillary. I just thought it was nicer than saying “Trumpbots.” I’m not a “NeverTrumper” so it would be presumptuous for me to presume to speak for all of them, but I’m guessing that they would say they have other objections to Trump besides being against “the candidate of change,” as you so self-servingly characterized it. Straw-man arguments are the refuge of the intellectually dishonest.

        >>”The People are tired of “conservatives” not fulfilling their obligations as conservatives. …Enter Donald Trump.”

        Yes, great idea right? “The people” are tired of conservatives who really aren’t conservatives so their solution is to elect……a non-conservative. And then they complain that conservativism is meaningless.

        >>”If the standard of conservatism that existed until Trump is the one as exhibited by most Republican representatives and senators, it doesn’t matter if it was in your imagination or not. That “conservatism” has been rejected.”

        You misunderstand me. I wasn’t talking about congressmen. I was talking about the conservatism continuously espoused by my fellow bloggers for the past 8+ years, yourself included perhaps though I don’t really know you. They talked about restoring the Constitution. They talked about conservative principles. They railed against socialism and liberalism and big government. Any of that sound familiar to you? But when I pointed out during the primaries that Donald Trump’s “About” statement on his campaign website never mentions the Constitution, or that he was lost for words when an interviewer asked him about Republican principles, or that he once applauded Obamacare and helped finance the campaigns of liberals we’ve been working to defeat, people got annoyed. They rejected THEIR OWN conservatism. Yes I know it’s in the past now. But I won’t let the history be re-written.

        “…true conservatives will have a chance … to further right the listing ship. But first it has to be kept from sinking.”

        You can’t right the ship without restoration of the Constitution – period. If you were going to wrest control from the pirates, better to elect a captain who understands this.

        >>” If Donald Trump wins without the help of “true conservatives” and manages to succeed at even just a couple of the big things he wants to do… without the help of “true conservatives,” what place in the coming realignment do you think “true conservatives” will have? Perhaps a reading the The Little Red Hen would be appropriate here.”

        Is The Little Red Hen “just a story” this time or are you suggesting an analogy in order to convey a point? Assuming it’s the latter I’ll just point out that Trump is no Little Red Hen, and he is going to need help from conservatives every step of the way if he wants to achieve ‘big’ things, unless he moves his agenda to the Left and gets help from Democrats instead. Is that what YOU want?

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