Political Expediency

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Of course the Grand Senate of the First Lunar Republic was deadlocked. It was a tradition that went back to the days when humans first established a permanent presence in space. Instead of sticking up liquor stores (which is all they were competent to do), the Senilities sat in their ornate chamber and bickered. One senator actually compared the activity in the Senate (such as it was) to skeet shooting: "They toss out a bill," he said, "and we shoot it down."

Oddly enough (actually, not so oddly if you think about it for a few seconds) the surrounding society prospered. People who could do actual, real work got things accomplished. Goods were manufactured, services were provided, money was exchanged, and the societyís overall wealth grew. The society worked well because all of the most basic laws had been put into force many generations ago. People had begun to wonder whether the time had come to abolish the Legislature altogether: after all, they didnít do much.

But then the impossible happened. The Senate passed two bills on the same day! Shock reverberated throughout the Capitol! How could such a thing happen?! Reporters swarmed the seat of government and the footstool of government as well.

Then one reporter found out what had happened. He interviewed the author of one of the bills, Senator Haunckenblather, and was astounded by what he heard.

"One day last week," the senator said, "I went to Senator Gassinoff (the author of the other bill) and said that I could get my people to vote for his bill if he would get his people to vote for mine. He agreed to do it, so we got both bills passed."

"Thatís amazing!" the reporter said. "How did you come up with this wonderful new idea of trading votes?"

"Thereís nothing new about it," the senator said. "Itís based on one of the oldest doctrines in human moral philosophy."

"Howís that?" the reporter asked. "What doctrine?"

The senator said, "The doctrine of demanding an aye for an aye."

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