As of presstime, the federal government remains shut down, and the debt ceiling deadline of Oct. 17 is rapidly approaching. Most folks seem to think that some form of compromise eventually will be struck, but there didn’t seem to be any substantive good news to talk about at midweek.
The American electorate is rightly disgusted, as the government has completely failed to address its budgetary concerns and continues to live way beyond its means. Virtually everyone recognizes we are on an unsustainable path for the long term.
The media has tended to focus on who will win, and the political ramifications and gamesmanship of the impasse. These might be interesting questions to ponder, but they overshadow the real and important issues involved.
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I find the coverage almost humorous, as everyone is complaining about the partisanship and the lack of willingness by either side to compromise. Nobody talks about the fact that they really don’t want a compromise. In actuality, our political system is working amazingly well, politicians are responding to the desires of their constituents, and the lack of compromise and inability to find common ground stems from the fact that a common ground doesn’t exist.
This is a debate that fundamentally will shape the direction of our nation, and America is as deeply divided outside the Washington Beltway as they are inside it. There is no way that we can simultaneously achieve both visions of America.
Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if a short-term fix isn’t reached by the two sides, but the underlying division will remain and that debate must be held. It’s a struggle that will continue, with the end result not being a compromise between the two sides, but a clear winner and loser.
If we want to eradicate the division in Washington, D.C., then the minds of half of the electorate will have to be changed. That isn’t likely to happen when the differences are differences in values and philosophy. The two sides do not share similar goals.
The rhetoric and the tactics of the struggle may be despicable, but the differences are real and our government is merely a reflection of that reality.
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