News reports inform us that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired only one law clerk instead of the usual four for the Supreme Court sessions starting in October of 2010. This is taken as an indication that he intends to retire after next year’s session. The man is 89 years old, and by October of 2010 he will be well past his 90th birthday. He seems pretty certain that he can make long term plans at an age when most men his age dare not buy green bananas. Maybe 34 years of being a Supreme Court Justice has inflated his sense of his ability to order destiny? Sure seems unduly confident about outdueling Father Time, eh?
Speaking of undue confidence, there’s the right wing voices urging Shotgun Dick Cheney to take a shot at the presidency in 2012. First of all, Cheney is a guy who has had more heart attacks than Fred Sanford and his chances of being alive in 2012 look even grimmer than Justice Stevens’. Secondly, he already had 8 years of being in charge of America as our only dictator ever and screwed that up big time. His legacy included Gestapo torture and domestic spying techniquess, attacks on the Bill of Rights, New Orleans drowned and forgotten, Osama bin Laden a famous video star instead of being dead or a prisoner, Iraq attacked for its oil, a massive transfer of wealth from workers to the uber-wealthy and the economy in a shambles. So, their thinking is: “Well, who wouldn’t want 4 more years of that?” Wow. And that sneering, smug thief and torturer back in charge to boot? These people seem unduly confident in their chances for a Fifth Reich.
There is that streak in people that wants something so much that we convince ourselves that it will happen, all lousy odds to the contrary. We just don’t want to do the math when the math really stinks. It’s so much easier to assume that events will cater themselves to our wishes. Which is fine when you are 9 years old wanting a pony so, so much! Not ever getting that pony, however, convinces most of us to be a drop more realistic in our expectations of the world. After the pony incident, we realize that all the wishing in the world makes nothing happen, but we can make our wishes reality through a lot of hard work and shrewd planning. Darned few of us ever go after the pony once we are able, but there is an astounding number of things human beings can do, an incredible record of dreams having come true.
Of course there’s the reality rule involved in any of these things. No sense getting too giddy about that ballet career when you are built like a linebacker. Those aspirants who don’t fit the profile just have to content themselves with appreciating the grace and beauty of those who do. Sure, life can be unfair, but who ever said otherwise? Is this a shock to anyone but a 9 year-old with their pony’s name all picked out? It shouldn’t be, and it also should not prevent any of us from being dreamers. Dreamers gave us airplanes, cell phones, ferris wheels, penicillin and iPods. They didn’t see what was not, but what might be, then got to work and made it happen for all of us.
They did not give us unicorns, gingerbread houses, Utopia or immortality. They wasted no time trying to spin straw into gold. Those who anticipate such things seem unduly confident, no? President Obama is already thinking about his next Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Stevens and the Republican Party is desperately seeking a viable candidate for 2012, preferably one who never shot anyone in the face with a shotgun or defended torture like it was the state religion. If wishes were fishes we’d all have mercury poisoning. True dreamers spend most of their time with their eyes wide open, doing the hard work their dreams demand. Their confidence is reasonable and warranted.