My seven year old can get pretty upset pretty quickly. He isn't the quiet kind of kid that keeps his emotions hidden. He will whine, cry, yell, growl and if he feels particularly pressured or picked on, he will throw a tantrum, or possibly something tangible that could actually hurt someone. I'm doing my best to try to teach him to be more restrained and patient when life doesn't go his way. It's my responsibility to teach this boy of mine what proper behavior is appropriate when circumstances are not to his liking.
I'm pretty sure that somewhere, sometime, some parents told their now grown-up children in Congress how to behave. However, I think the members of Congress are pulling seven year old antics right now. Obviously, they have not learned their lessons and need a serious time-out.
So here's my open admonishment to the United States Congress, and the President while we are at it:
"You people can NOT expect to have it all your own way. This is called 'compromise'. It is not a dirty word. It means that you sit down together and work out a solution that may or may not be the way you think it should be, but will work for now because not everyone believes things should be the way you think they should be.
To the Republicans: The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land. You were outvoted NUMEROUS times. The Supreme Court upheld it. Get over it. If there are problems to fix, then fix them, but stop trying to throw the whole thing out. Enough of the American people need it that they will never want you to take it away now that they have it. Put your grown-up underwear on and think about fixing other problems this country has and forget your own egos.
To the Democrats: You guys didn't take the time to make the ACA something that the Republicans could get behind. You pushed it through because you could. Sure, you had the majority vote on this one, but a little more effort on your part to get to a consensus would have eased some of the hard feelings you created. You guys need to be a little more bending now. There are problems with the ACA and you know it. So show some good faith and help fix them now so the government can start paying its' bills again. Put your grown-up underwear on and think about fixing other problems this country has and forget your own egos.
To the President: Um, could you please be just a little more willing to work with Congress? You start talking like you want to but then you shut down attempts at working with you. Yes, we expect you to hold to your principles, but for heaven's sake the details of 'how' need to be worked out here. I can't imagine what it's really like to be the President, and I'm sure it's very difficult, but it would also help if I didn't hear on the news that you were taking another vacation. For all the power and prestige that comes with the job, there is also an expectation on the part of the American people that when it comes to government business, you are on call 24/7. You've got your second term. Please give it your whole attention. And like I said before, put your grown-up underwear on and think about fixing other problems this country has and forget your own ego."
Now for the rest of us. I propose that we all write, email, text, phone, what-have-you to our duly elected officials and tell them to get done what needs to be done. If this government shutdown continues after tomorrow, then I suggest we ALL pledge not to vote for ANY of those people now in office when election time comes around again. We HAVE to elect more moderate candidates in both parties if we hope to break the bipartisanship that is crippling our government. The people in the Congress seem to be of three kinds: the old ones that are dragging out their careers so they can get the most they can out of generous congressional benefits but can't seem to teach the younger ones that it is possible to work across the aisle, the younger ones who seem to see themselves as new founding fathers that just can't resist all the drama and crisis mongering but forget who they are there to serve, and the people who are there to honestly serve their country but can't get anything done because they are in the slim minority that get outshouted by the other two groups.
Unless the American people can STOP being concerned about political parties and elect candidates who have clean, honest track records of governing through compromise and consensus, we will never get the Congress we need.
Barring that, maybe we ought to elect a bunch of seven year olds. They would probably get more done and when they started pitching tantrums, we could put them in timeout.