Yes or No

While temporarily confined to my bed for a couple of days, I happened upon a discussion of "job creation" and "regulations." Without going into a lot of detail (my memory of detail from that time is a little hazy), I remember a question by a Republican directed to a Secretary of - Commerce? EPA? Something.

The topic was the Keystone XL project, which wants to build a pipeline from Canadian oil sands refineries through the American Midwest. The project has been recently delayed by environmental concerns and complaints from landowners whose property has been threatened through eminent domain confiscation.

The question was simple. I will paraphrase: "Does this delay mean the loss of American jobs?"

The answer attempted to address the complexities of the situation.

The questioner asked for a yes or no answer. Will this delay imperil American job growth or will it not?

I think I was interrupted at this point by the exigencies of my own situation. But I recognize a sound bite when I hear it.

A "no" answer would have to be explained and proved. A "yes" answer would be a headline. Obama administration obstructs much-needed job growth.

Questions that demand "yes" or "no" answers always sound so simple, so definitive. As if all we need to know is "yes" it will or "no" it won't. As if "yes" or "no" answers all other relevant questions.

"Did you or did you not threaten to kill the victim? Yes or no."

"Well, you see, your honor, what I said was, 'If you tell him I said I had a crush on him, I'll kill you, but that doesn't mean ..."

"So, you did threaten to kill her."

There is always more to the story than "yes" or "no".