|Are you one of those people who thinks that both of these guys are equally |
at fault, or that all they need is "couples therapy"? Here's a quick word of
advice for you: No.
"Both sides are at fault. They just yell at each other like a bunch of spoiled children. They don't even listen to one another. Why can't they sit down and try to resolve their differences like I've taught my kids to do?"
I understand this reaction, because it's sometimes my own. After all, I don't want to be summarily dismissed as a knee-jerk partisan hack whose only answer is to reflexively point my finger at the other side without fully understanding or exploring the issue.
And, let's be honest: On a broad level, it's true to some extent that both major political parties are to blame. Both have very specific agendas, and both have dug their heals in at times (though even in this context, Republicans are far worse than Democrats).
But when it comes to the sequester, you should be absolutely clear on one point — whether you're a Democrat, Republican, independent, liberal, conservative, communist, fascist, non-conformist, or anything else:
Republicans caused this.
Again, I understand the desire to be an adult and avoid finger-pointing, because by resorting to it, one could argue that we're engaging in the exact type of childish behavior that's espoused by the clowns who populate Congress. I totally get that.
But that's not what we're doing here. What we're doing here is calling a spade a spade.
Don't agree with me? Check out this column by Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. Then, ask yourself a couple of basic questions:
- Did President Obama agree to the concessions outlined by Klein in the column, or did he not? (Hint: He did.)
- Did Republicans take those concessions seriously as a means toward crafting a deal, or did they not? (Hint: They did not.)
Compromise is never possible if one side is categorically unwilling to budge, and is fully prepared to allow deplorable outcomes just so they don't have to. Compromise, by its very definition, involves mutual sacrifice for the sake of achieving a mutually acceptable solution. Compromise is an inextricable rule of a functional political system. (Yes, you're absolutely right: That's why we don't have one anymore.)
But Ezra Klein lays out, with excruciating clarity, what "compromise" looks like for the Republican Party today:
…If Obama wants a deal, he needs to drop all of his demands and just agree to what the GOP wants to do…There’s no deal even if Obama agrees to major Republican demands on entitlements. There’s no deal because Republicans don’t want to make a deal that includes taxes, no matter what they get in return for it.
|Remember when I talked about this guy?|
Think that maybe, just maybe, he still has
something to do with it?
Let me rest my case by offering what's hopefully an instructive analogy: If I'm ever the father of multiple children among whom sibling rivalry is common, I will not turn a blind eye or play an impartial referee if it's obvious that one child — and one child alone — is instigating the conflict in a particular situation. In so doing, I'd be enabling the bad behavior, right?
Similarly, as Americans who are understandably jaded by our broken political environment, we should be very careful not to fall prey to what I call the "universal blame" mentality — because doing so allows Republicans to hide behind an oversimplified line of thinking that says that all politicians are equally inept, self-serving, and uncompromising.
That's not true at all. Many of them — including Obama, I believe — genuinely do want to find consensus and take the action that's best for our country.
But tragically, the good folks are being lumped into the same category as Republicans, who have shown absolute willingness to sabotage any negotiations of any kind, and who aren't being properly held accountable for the damage they're causing because they've successfully given everyone a bad name.
Sometimes, you just need to call out a situation like it is. This is very definitely one of those times.