Greater Krueger National Park

Greater Krueger National Park
An image from a recent trip to South Africa. Clcik on the image for more on this trip.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown, Who is to Blame?

Nobody pulled a rabbit out of their hat and the United States Government has started closing down.  Not the end of the world.  It has happened before, and we have lived through it.  I presume that we will again this time.

At the same time, it is certainly not an ideal situation and a lot of fundamental disagreement is still on the political table.  The really unfortunate part of the situation is that everybody is so intent on maintaining their ideological purity that we are not even trying to find common ground.  Name calling has replaced pragmatism on all sides of all disputes.

This situation has existed long enough that there are entrenched groups on both sides of the political fence that don't even want to talk to members of the other side of any given argument.  When they do meet, talking points are substituted for rational discussion.  The really distressing development is that this is happening at all levels of society - not just in Congress.

We conservatives are just as guilty of this behavior as are our liberal neighbors.  Take Obamacare as an example.  Granted, the law is flawed in just about every way imaginable and the manner in which it has been implemented is atrocious as well as incompetent, but it is the law of the land whether we like it or not (and I do not).  We do not currently have the votes necessary to overturn it and our current antics are needlessly risking our political future sufficiently that we may not have the votes necessary to even modify it in the near future.

Many conservatives can not accept the fact that our society is changing.  Many of our younger citizens do not really know much about history and few have a sound understanding of our constitution. Deplorable perhaps, but a fact of life none the less.  It does little good to lecture them about how George Washington would have handled a given challenge.  In some circles it is even detrimental to our argument to associate it with the "rich white men who owned slaves and would not let women vote, way back before the internet."

Those that disagree with me argue that we can not give up our principals.  My fear is that our failure to find compromise is one of the reasons that America is moving left at such a rapid rate.  Those of us who are so true to our principals that they will not compromise are a shrinking percentage of our body politic and these elderly ideologues are taking our principals with them into the abyss of history.  It is way too bad for all of us, liberal and conservative, young and old, alike.

PS:  I don't care which political party gets blamed for the shutdown.  As far as I am concerned, we, the citizens of this country, are responsible because we are not listening to each other.

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