Lurching from crisis to crisis has become the norm in Washington. The radical Republicans cannot accept that they lost and that they can no longer dictate how the government will run. So they will continue to use every opportunity to manufacture deadlines that keep us constantly teetering on the edge of economic doom. The Republican message is simple: “If you won’t let us be in charge, we’ll wreck things until you do.” They’ve been playing this game since Obama got elected and there’s no sign of them letting up.
Sooner or later, probably in the next three years, we’re going to go over the edge and find out exactly what happens when the U.S. defaults on its debt. It probably won’t be Armageddon, and I’m sure lawmakers will scurry to patch the holes, but it will cause damage world-wide and the people most hurt, as usual, will be those who have the least.
It’s our responsibility as voters and citizens to stop this. The people inflicting this on us are people we voted for. They will only stop if we make it clear that they will lose their office if they don’t start behaving responsibly.
That means we voters have to act responsibly, too. We have to stop treating politics like it’s religion. Politics is the art of compromise, not deadlock. Like it or not, in a Democracy, we all get a say, so no one is ever likely to be completely happy with what happens. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
We also have to listen to the views of the opposition. Sometimes they have perfectly reasonable ideas. It would help if we admit it when that happens. This isn’t a game. Every one of these decisions affects people. Sometimes these decisions determine who lives and who dies. Think about that the next time you’re discussing politics and start resorting to talking points instead of your own reason.
What we are arguing over isn’t even particularly important. We have to pay our bills, so it’s a no-brainer that we have to raise the debt ceiling. Obama care is the law of the land. It’s been passed by Congress, signed by the President and declared Constitutional by the most conservative Supreme Court in recent memory. The sequester is an open wound in our economy that makes our enemies chortle with glee, since it continues to put a drag on our recovery.
And that’s the real problem, lack of growth. We need jobs. We need an economy that’s chugging away in order to generate those jobs, which will generate tax revenues, which will allow us to pay down our debt.
So what is this whole crisis about? It’s about pride, spite, and envy. It’s about a party that was riding high, nearly destroyed the economy, and now can’t accept that it’s no longer the darling of most of the voters. It’s about people who put their own political ambitions above the good of the country. It’s about paper-patriots who wear flag pins but care for no one but themselves.
To paraphrase a furloughed government employee, “Only you can prevent brinkmanship.”