Our country is craving leadership.
As the government shutdown moves into the second week with no resolution in sight, that much is evident.
At a time when we sorely need statesmen, all that can be heard is rigid ideologues. Meanwhile, our government slides further into dysfunction and paralysis and citizens grow angrier and even more disillusioned.
How bad is the leadership void?
Last week U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black beseeched the Senate to find reason as he prayed, “Save us from the madness.”
He went on praying, “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable . . . Keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction . . . deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty.”
Black is chaplain for what has been called “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Would anyone use that description today?
Political posturing and an escalating game of high-stakes tit for tat has replaced compromise and leadership in both chambers of Congress and the president. Reasonableness, common sense and courage are in short supply.
The American people and the country are suffering from the reckless behavior of the very people we elected to serve our best interest.
And it’s time to throw them all out — the whole lot.
Our elected officials should be held to the same standard as the rest of us. When we screw up there are consequences. If our government were a business, management would be fired for incompetence.
If our government were a sports team, the players and the coach would be let go. Just ask Dusty Baker. If our government were the military, they would be drummed out of the service or even court-martialed.
We should vote each member of Congress out of office when they come up for re-election.
We know that won’t happen. In fact, some of the most obstructionist members of Congress will be rewarded next election for their intransigence. Sen. Ted Cruz comes to mind.
The freshman tea party architect of the government shutdown is hero to many for his stand against ObamaCare. He is profiting politically and financially for his role in orchestrating the government shutdown. Now he is threatening to use the same tactics in the vote on raising the debt ceiling if his demands regarding ObamaCare are not met.
He is unfazed by members of his own party who call him a blatant opportunist and his tactics a “joke.”
“Fighting with the president is one thing,” Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said of Cruz. “Fighting with the president and losing is another thing. When you’re in the minority you need to look really hard to find the fights you can win.”
Another Republican senator put it this way: “The guys that got us into this mess won’t be there to cut the deal that gets us out. And they will attack the people that actually come to the deal. And profit by it politically.”
If members of his own party can’t rein Cruz in, who can?
There are honest disagreements with spending and getting our country’s fiscal house in order just as there are with ObamaCare.
But the recourse isn’t to shut down the government or to risk the country’s full faith and credit and an economic catastrophe that the Treasury Department warned could be worse than the Great Depression.
If Congress and the president can’t figure this out, we need to find leaders who can.