By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
When a husband and wife have differences, they generally don’t like to hash them out in public view, but our political system not only demands the public be aware of the discussion, taking sides helps reach a conclusion.
We learned in the Civil War that divorce is not an option, so our leaders in Washington have to find a way to solve their differences, and public opinion has a large hand in which direction the outcome may go.
In the current debt ceiling/continuing resolution battle, we are seeing just how important that public opinion may be.
Most polls blame Republicans more than Democrats, and in the generic poll on who should lead the country, Democrats enjoy a 4.5 point advantage according to Real Clear Politics.
But while one bears more of a burden, the people are starting to blame Washington in general, and that is not good for either party, expecially those who currently serve.
As more people call for a third party, the two sides are scurrying to bring an end to this debate, and for good reason. A throw-the-bums-out mentality can hurt Democrats as much as Republicans.
If candidates start to crop up who say they are willing to work together, the current assortment of political extremists from both sides of the aisle will become nervous.
Those who believe in less government, whether they be Tea Party candidates or Libertarians, may seem better suited as more and more people sour on government in general.
When the government shuts down, we all expect the finger-pointing to start, and we all expect each side to blame the other. But we all know that is was the inability to work together that caused the shutdown, and no one is free from blame.
The problem is everything in Washington is considered a crisis of epic proportion.
“If we don’t pass a new law the world may end as we know it,” or so they want us to believe.
Last year’s sequester proved that these apocalyptic claims were overrated. The world in fact did not spin off its axis. Most of us probably have forgotten about it altogether, as we will the government shutdown a year from now when it is election time.
The health care issue is the same thing. Advocates claim that health care will be revolutionized, and we will all live longer, happier, healthier lives. The opposition claims that we will go back to stone-age medicine, perhaps even bleedings, to treat common ailments.
While I do not favor the current health care law, and I believe ti will collapse under its own flaws, America is too positive of a place to lose the best health care system in the world to poor legislation.
Americans are good at finding ways around bad rules. And when a president is no longer concerned about signature legislation, future leaders will make necessary changes to make sure our health care system remains in tact.
But we cannot get public opinion behind us without a crisis, and so our government has found it very comfortable to push us toward fiscal cliffs, bankruptcies, defaults and other catastrophes in an effort to get behind their initiatives, which in the end comes back to the same old thing — money.
Our independence had to do with money.
The rallying cry, “No taxation without representation” was a prime example.
We wanted to be a free nation of merchants without a portion of our trade supporting the British crown.
And so, Thomas Payne wrote “Common Sense,” and when it seemed that the colonists were losing, he wrote, “An American Crisis” just to make sure everyone knew they faced cataclysmic results if the colonists didn’t win.
Neither Republicans or Democrats will like the compromise that will be struck to avoid the newest journey to the precipice, but that is how we do political business.
Always have, always will.
We vote based on the fears that politicians throw at us more than we vote on hope.
While Barack Obama talked about a united America, he took every opportunity to talk about Bush’s escalating expenditures and how John McCain would lead us into more debt and wars.
He used the fear of Mitt Romney rolling back his health care law and being in bed with big business, and how that would hurt the little guy to scare enough voters into supporting a second term.
He’s not the only one. Republicans have used the same tactic.
We vote fear, not faith.
So when we clear this most recent fabricated crisis, when the lights come on in the morning and the television continues to tell us of the newest debacle, remember it is simply how we do business in Washington.
The next shooting or financial collapse or foreign challenge will be used to its fullest political gain. As Americans, we truly live on the edge of oblivion, and we apparently like it.
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