Dr. Mason Jarvis, a leading researcher in the field, spoke by phone from his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts:
“Although we have documented cases of this debilitating condition in the occasional senator or representative, we’ve never seen the disease approach near-epidemic dimensions. We’re literally racing against time to curb this rapid spinal deterioration, which threatens to render most Democrats little more than babbling, floppy ragdolls by year’s end.”
Specialists are working tirelessly to find a safe antidote to the progressive condition. Initial symptoms include motor disturbances, such as a grimace experts call the “bowery-drunk simper,” and a compulsion to shake hands vigorously with lobbyists contributing vastly more to the opposing party.
Dr. Jarvis noted that many of the afflicted Democrats had already reached more advanced stages of the spinal disease. During examination, the lawmakers exhibited an inability to “stand tall,” and a helpless descent into the speech pattern known in the literature as “two-way utterance.”
Citing an example of the speaking disorder, Dr. Jarvis recalled examining one senator “who insisted we provide him with a podium. He then leaned heavily against it and repeated ad nauseum, ‘It is with great reluctance that I extend the Patriot Act, for I abhor its every tenet.’ I’ve seen many challenged patients over the years, but it never gets easier to watch a once-vital individual deteriorate in this manner.”
Because researchers are working within a critical time frame, several potential therapies have been fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration.
“One treatment has given us a glimmer of hope,” Dr. Jarvis said. “In an encouraging number of cases, our Democrats have responded fairly well to being slapped squarely in the face and told in a firm voice to ‘snap out of it,’ much as Cher did to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck.”
Added Dr. Jarvis, “The slapped Democrats were not yet able to stand tall, but at least some of them lost that pathetic grin.”
Residents of all 50 states have filed online petitions to secede from the United States, as part of the White House website‘s “We the People” program. But a HuffPost/YouGov poll, released Friday, found that most Americans don’t embrace their own state severing ties with the nation. Over half opposed seeing their state secede, with 42 percent strongly opposing the idea, while 22 percent said they supported the idea. A quarter weren’t sure.
Republicans were more likely to support the proposition: 43 percent said they were in favor of the idea, compared to 22 percent of Independents and just 10 percent of Democrats.
Although petitions to secede have reached the 25,000-signature mark needed for an official White House response, in some states just over 20 percent of those polled said they’d heard a lot about the petitions, while 42 percent said they’d heard a little bit and 27 percent said that they’d heard nothing at all.
Americans were split on whether other states should be allowed to call it quits: 29 percent said states should be allowed to secede if a majority of their residents supported secession, while 38 percent said they should not, and a third weren’t sure. Republicans were more likely to approve of secession, with 46 percent saying states should be allowed to leave the union.
But a majority agreed that the break-up of the United States isn’t exactly imminent. More than half said it wasn’t likely that, during their lifetime, the majority of citizens in any state would support seceding. About a quarter said it was somewhat or very likely, and 20 percent said that they weren’t sure.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll interviewed 1,000 adults online between Nov. 14 and Nov. 15, with a 4.5 percent margin of error. It used a sample that was selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
Efforts to secede are nothing new. Here’s a look back at previous attempts: