I don’t consider myself a political person. I can’t vote, nor do I want to make the effort to obtain that right. But I feel compelled to say a word about the failure of the US government as demonstrated by the political disarray over the past couple weeks as well as the factional trench warfare over the past few years.
I am disgusted that these are our representatives and that the American people voted them in. I am appalled that this behavior is acceptable to any nation, not to mention one who constantly lectures other countries on “American Values” of democracy and liberty. This is no way to be the world’s leader, and certainly erodes long-term credibility in a way that is extremely difficult or impossible to regain.
I don’t consider myself a Democrat, but the events in the past few weeks and years have made it certain that I am not a Republican. I don’t understand how it can be acceptable (much less encouraged) for these “representatives” to hold the country they claim to serve in ransom in order to meet their selfish, childish ends. Perhaps this is the compromise during America’s founding to ensure that each place will be represented, but now it’s becoming clearer that this representation of local demands comes at a significant cost to the national welfare.
It is natural for a “representative” democracy to evolve into a two-party system, and that works when the two parties are able to represent the best of each side’s wants and needs, and come together to build consensus on solutions that benefit those they represent–that is, there must be compromise in a nation of diverse interests. That is not what we’ve seen in the recent past, as the extremists have taken positions that the majority will not bear, and dug their heels in and plugged their ears. They are the suicide bombers in the city hall with explosives strapped to their body, threatening to blow everyone up if they don’t get their way. They are forcing people to play an undesirable game of chicken.
This is just wrong, yet those responsible are not being held responsible. As President Obama said in a speech, if you shut down the factory in order to “get something”, you’ll get fired. That’s not how adults resolve conflicts.
The cynic in me suspects that the ploys to incapacitate government are designed to demonstrate that the government is evil, and maybe to some people it has served that purpose. But to me, it has demonstrated the importance of government and the need for a responsible stewardship. And obviously for most people watching this saga, this is not that moment.
The optimist in me hopes that this will shed light on the institutional failures we have in place–ones that let a noisy minority take the nation hostage–and come together to implement a more progressive, functional state.