In case you missed it, America’s federal government shut down last week.
A recent poll suggests 60% of the American public would like to see everyone in Congress fired and replaced. Furthermore, even the president is not getting out of this unscathed as his approval ratings are at historic lows. Rumor is Webster’s Dictionary is considering altering the definition of the word ‘dysfunctional’ to include a reference to politics inside the Washington beltway in order to better illustrate the point.
Unfortunately we are simply watching another chapter of the modern day Keystone Cops – only this one features a grumpy man with what appears to be a spray-on tan and another who speaks in a staccato rhythm of three or four-word sound bites. The supporting cast is in the thousands. And just when you think it is as crazy as it can get, there are walk-on appearances from pseudo-celebrities voicing their opinions.
The United States likes to promote and champion democratic principles around the world – even taking up the flag of such to topple other governments. Well, how do you think we’re doing from a sales standpoint when our own government can’t seem to work itself out of a paper bag – letting the entire federal government slip into shutdown over politics? “Yeah, sign me up” is probably not coming to mind in third-world nations looking to us as inspiration or model.
I am an equal-opportunity offender here – I’m not happy with anyone associated with the mess we find ourselves in today. I simply don’t understand how egos can allow our government to run aground during such tenuous economic times. Please spare me the details – the big picture is DC seems to be playing a convoluted game of high-stakes poker with everyone else’s money and future.
History serves to remind us that just because you disagree, you can learn to find a solution in a civilize manner. A great case in point would be the unusual friendship of President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil. One would be pressed to find two men with more divergent opinions of government’s role in the lives of the people. However, when it really got down to it, each would put the interest of the nation ahead of personal / party gain and hammer out a solution. No long-term childish posturing, no silly personal attacks – when it got right down to it, the two leaders went behind closed doors and hammered out a deal.
We, the people, deserve better. Rewinding to our Founding Fathers, disagreements ran deep – it is just a part of the political process. But how we conduct ourselves sets the bar for our self-image as a nation as well as influencing the American psyche. Representatives need to remember the literally ‘represent’ countless faces and families back home.
So to our friends in DC I’m asking you please stop dragging our nation and political process through the mud. Just like a spoiled child reflects poorly on the parents, you are doing the same of those who sent you to represent us. Knock it off and get to work. We need you to make things better, not worse.
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