The news from Washington is so bleak these days - actually downright depressing. The debt ceiling debacle was politically created and seemed to indicate that it is all about "us" in Congress rather than "we the people." The Tea Party faction of the Republican party wore their November victory as a means to slaughter the ability to get anything meaningful done in Congress. The political posturing before the cameras was shameful and did nothing more than erode confidence of the American economy in the eyes of American citizens and countries around the world.
Politics drive government policy whether it is at the local, state and national level. It is about power and control and when power and control become the ultimate objective at any cost, no one listens, no compromise is possible and no one wins. Is it really about who wins and who loses? The media actually contributes to the winner loser mentality. After the debt ceiling crisis was averted at the last hour, the media went on their merry way talking about who won and who lost in this crisis. Congressional members heaved a sigh of resigned relief, patted themselves on the back for once again solving the "big" problem and took off for home to pander to their base.
Too bad for those 4,000 employees who work for the FAA and the airports around the country who were in the middle of a construction project to improve their infrastructure needs. It is absolutely unbelievable to read that the FAA has not had a long term funding plan since 2007. This federal agency has relied on multiple short term extensions, the last of which expired on July 22nd. How is that being fiscally responsible? Is that an example of taking care of fiscal business?
Once again, the American people are faced with media reporting on who is to blame. The Republicans say its the Senate Democrats who caused this because they wouldn't sign the bill sent to them by the House Majority Republicans. The Democrats say once again the Republicans are holding the American people hostage because the Republicans have tacked on language to the funding bill that closes smaller airports targeted in Democratic controlled locations and have added a provision that makes it harder for air and rail employees to unionize. Close your nose and sign a bill that makes you sell out your convictions or send 4,000 employees home without pay. What a choice to have to make.
Both parties are again to blame on this FAA shutdown. The "my way or the highway" mentality in Congress is cheapening democracy as we know it. What happened to working together for the common good. Instead its all about winning and taking my ball and going home if I don't get my way. Sounds like kindergarten behavior to me. When I hear the phrase, "this is what the American people want" as a justification for one's obstructionist behavior, I want to shout, "I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it anymore."
Politics is dirty business and once again, it's all about who wins and who loses. There is no middle ground anymore, no compromise, no sense of common good for all the American people. The aftermath of this entire political theater was no change in a sluggish economy, skittish markets, no plan to encourage job growth, and a loss of confidence worldwide that our government is capable of continuing to be an economic power.
Let's keep letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This seems to be the new American way.