Government Shutdown And Who Is Right

I know you readers are from around the world, but if you aren’t aware our government has shut down. If that is news to you, I suggest you read this first.

I love America. I love that we have a system of government in place that demands agreement in order to move forward. What is problematic for me is the way this is all going down and the critical approach both sides have.

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Me and the hubs in DC this past spring

I was going to write about the shutdown, but then my brilliant and fantastic friend Stephanie at Stifling Trivialities did. So, I am reposting her thoughts here. I’d love you to comment at the end about what your thoughts are regarding the shutdown. But be warned — I will only allow posts that are kind, respectful and constructive. You can disagree, but be nice.

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This morning I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the Affordable Care Act and the fact that there is a 40/48 divide in America regarding the way that America should be run. 40 percent of Americans believe that we need “smaller” government, and 48 percent believe that ‘big’ government is more effective. **disclaimer- I have not seen this study, I have no idea how this question was asked, to whom, and how many people were polled.

However, I do know that 1/2 of America ( or so ) believe FUNDAMENTALLY they are right – we need LESS government, BIGGER business, less intrusion, lower taxes, the government needs to step aside and let America be for the people by the people and give the people back the ability to rule ourselves…

Another 1/2 of Americans believe FUNDAMENTALLY they are right – we need the government to step in and do their jobs. To legislate where things are blocked, people are falling through the cracks, the minority is terrorizing the majority, to stop the widening gap between rich and poor, to control the flood of guns and violence, and death due to poverty…

So who is right?

One or the other.

There can only be ONE right? That’s the way we’ve allowed this to be constructed. That there is a right, and there is a wrong. As if it is a game of political Red Rover. You are either for or against.

The problem with being right is that it assumes there is someone who is wrong. There are some places where things are this black and white. Touchdowns and death for example – but politics not so much.

Politics is more of a game of Go Fish…and it’s about that exciting as well. Just think about the fun the OMB had when they sat down and said, ” Well, we’ve got a 40/48 split – what’s the line in Vegas on a shutdown October one?” When they heard the numbers, they ordered in Chinese and set to deciding which 87% of Veterans Affairs were essential, which 81% of the Department of the Interior needed to be furloughed. Commerce another 87% – 97% of NASA, 94% of the EPA, 81% of the Interior, 80% of the Treasury, 69% of Health and Human Services and so on and so forth…

“Do you have any State Park employees?”

” Go Fish”

“I would but normally I do that at Acadia National Park”

It’s well known that in the most successful negotiations everyone walks away without getting everything they wanted. No good negotiation is a winner take all game, or it’s not a negotiation. Somehow, Americans seem to have forgotten that.

We have begun to think that it’s our way, or no way. It’s behavior that we despise and punish in our children, that we critically critique in the coming generations, and demand uncompromisingly from our political representation.

The problem with being right, is that you can’t be right all the time , it’s a statistical impossibility. Beyond that, it’s difficult to like that person – the one that can never be wrong. And we are a nation full of them.

Two bickering sides.

Both always right.

Neither side ever wrong.

To what end?

At what cost?

I ask, in the long term, how can anyone benefit from this petulant behavior?

The problem with being right, is that it’s not working, and we’re not learning – and no one seems to be ashamed of their behavior.

We should consider who we vote for.

We should consider what we demand from them.

We should consider our political posture.

We are not moving forward, we are not at a standstill, we are sliding backward.

In three weeks, we will be facing the discussion regarding the debt ceiling and we can barely have an adult discussion with one another regarding the rules within our own home.

Our politicians are simply representatives of the people, they do as we demand. I cannot be angry at them for something that I am pretty sure starts with me. —> click to tweet

I am looking for places to concede and compromise, had our founding fathers been as obstinate and bull headed as we are, there would be no Constitution or United States. It might benefit us to remember the great concessions and compromises they made in order to move this great republic forward.

So what do you think? If you live in another country what is your take on this? For Americans, how do you think we actually solve this breakdown? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

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