During a White House press briefing Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack revealed his bold strategy for ending drought: “I get on my knees every day,” he said. “And I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”
A rain dance. Actually.
Somehow this is not the strategy I had in mind.
I don’t know what I was expecting, exactly. Seed the clouds with silver? Get a big hose? Come down with a megaphone and give encouraging pep talks to drooping fields of soybeans? (Never appoint me agriculture secretary.)
Possibly I had the idea that there was a lever somewhere you could pull to fix these things. I share this idea with most people who watch the polls. (“Why doesn’t the president just push the jobs button?” we ask ourselves, pacing. “Doesn’t he care about the American people?”)
Still, I was hoping for something better than, I don’t know, a rain dance. Next we’ll hear that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is responding to the crisis in our public schools by dressing up as a bear and standing ominously at bus stops. Next we’ll hear that Ben Bernanke’s response to the recession is to spin in a circle chanting nonsensically. (For all I know, it may be.)
At least make it sound like you have some idea what you’re doing. Saying that you’re praying and doing a rain dance tells people that you have no idea how to fix the problem and are hoping for some sort of miracle. Saying that you’re forming a commission to look into drought reduction says exactly the same thing, but everyone nods and you don’t tick off the secularists.
Still, this is not exactly what I was hoping my dollars would go to. Rain dancing? Praying? I want my money spent on the logical, useful, needful things government typically does, like studying the sex habits of rats, renovating obscure pizzerias and building bridges to nowhere. At least bridges look nice. Back in the Middle Ages, your actual government plan for dealing with Bad Things was to commission large groups of people with bad hairstyles to pray about them. Now, we force the same people to hold public hearings. At least at hearings, few people turn up in robes.
Then again, Wednesday night did bring massive rainstorms to the D.C. area. So what do I know?