Stop Fighting and Listen To Your Mother!
The whole point of governing is to bring the best ideas and resources to a problem and find a mutually acceptable answer in spite of your differences and disagreements. It’s called promoting the common good, and it is the only reason we put you in office. From the way you’ve been carrying on, one would think all you care about is establishing who is the biggest bully. All that strutting and posing – do you have any idea how silly you look? Keeping food on the table and a roof over our heads has been harder and harder, and this alleged fiscal cliff business should have been settled months ago. Instead of buckling down, putting personal preferences aside and finding a compromise, you’ve been swatting each other, mouthing off and blustering like cranky children. Get over it and get busy.
Running the country does not mean you get to stomp all over the other guy and do exactly what you want. In fact, it means the opposite – because of our two party system, every advance is going to have an element of something you don’t like. That’s what compromise is all about – accepting something you don’t want in order to get something you do. Nobody gets it like they want it straight down the line. Coming to the Hill and saying “this is where I draw the line, beyond this point I will not go” is simply a non-starter. Our democracy was not designed to function with one view pushing all the levers. The whole idea of checks and balances is to create possibility out of the tension of opposing forces. What you’ve done so far is create a stalemate, a kind of inertia that not only impedes solutions but makes forward movement darn near impossible. It’s as if you’ve placed yourselves on either side of a bottomless pit with a rope stretched across between you. No matter who pulls the other hardest, all will fall into the void. That’s how it ends when your only aim is to annihilate the opposition – you’d sooner see them go down with you than let them win.
It’s time to grow up and accept that this is not about you. It’s not about you at all – it’s about the people who elected you to strengthen the foundation on which they build their lives, care for their families and follow their dreams. They should be able to do that without having to worry that you people are going to create chaos and turmoil, trash their future and put their children at risk. We know taxes will increase. We know public spending will decrease. Your job is to figure out how to get this done without putting the already-poor-and-struggling in even worse shape. Get it done without making the barely-holding-on into the poor-and-struggling. Get it done without tanking the slightly recovering economy. Get it done without removing the safety net and the ways we collectively take care of each other. Get it done so that we can still protect ourselves and our children. Get it done, but allow us to continue to offer the promise of opportunity to everyone who lives here.
Just get it done.
Don’t make me come up there, or I’ll give you something to cry about!
‘Til next time,
Your (Wo)Man in Washington