I have frequently quoted Golda Meir because this statement of hers was so true:
“The war will end when they love their children more than they hate us.”
She was referring to the ongoing, seemingly endless battle between the Jews and the Arabs. And 50 years after she spoke, we still have not seen much progress toward a Middle East peace. Of course, the other part of this formula is that the Israelis likewise have to love their children more than they hate the Arabs.
This sentiment also applies to all of those feuding, separated and divorced parents of children. I have no sympathy for the parent of a child from a broken home that complains that the other spouse is crazy. No money for diapers, for daycare or food on the table. First of all, that supposed craziness should have been discovered long before that partner was bedded and a child created. To withhold support from a child to punish the other spouse is a non-starter. Whenever Judge Judy is confronted with these stark, raving mad parents, she tells them, in a similar vein as Golda Meir once pronounced, that the parents have to love their children more than they hate each other.
The current gridlock in our government is also a result of our leaders sacrificing their duties to the misplaced goal of political one-upmanship. Regarding the debt ceiling impasse, the GOP apparently believes that their refusal to raise taxes one cent is the mark of bipartisanship. The Republicans are going to have to overcome their mantra of hating Barack Obama more than they love their country. Part of reducing the deficit, besides severe cuts, is also to raise revenues. It cannot be done without both sides of that formula. The conservatives scream that corporate tax loopholes and very low tax rates for the wealthy are the bedrock for a growing economy and a necessary fact for the growth of small businesses. Where have they been over the last decade? Many major corporations pay no taxes at all and the top individual earners have a historic low tax rate. Yet, our economy is in the toilet, with high unemployment rates we have not seen since the Depression. Companies, both large and small, have laid off workers at a phenomenal rate. Obviously, low tax rates for our leaders’ corporate cronies and rich constituents are not having the positive effect that the GOP claim that have.
Our dire economic position requires sacrifice and pain from all sectors of our society, rich and poor alike. The measures will hurt and should indeed touch everyone, regardless of their ideology and means. We live in a divided nation, between the haves and the have-nots, the powerful and the helpless and the elected and their constituents. Our leaders must set the example to close the gap. If they demonstrate an honest willingness to do what is right for our country, the people will follow. But if they place more importance on their elected jobs, on their party’s empty talking points and their rewards gleaned from those benefitting from lower taxes, than all bets are off.
Thank Heavens President Obama took those five minutes on national television yesterday to assert that he will not sign off on any short-term fixes to this debt ceiling problem. Kicking the can down the road has not and will not be the solution. It is high time that our leaders take the bull(shit) by the horn and enact serious, long-term measures to correct our irresponsible behavior. For them to keep delaying sufficient and effective antidotes, eying each upcoming election as the rationale for doing what they do instead of what they must, they are derelict in their duties.
Yesterday, Standard and Poor’s stated that even with the European bail out offered to Greece, that nation’s debt securities will still be just a hair away from the lowest debt rating thus default. The United States should take a lesson from Greece’s predicament and realize that there will be a point of no return, resulting in a domino effect of total economic collapse. Yes Siree: our Congressmen, Senators and President must step up to the plate and come to a sane, mutual agreement on austerity measures. Their jobs can no longer be the deciding factor in fulfilling their obligations to our nation. They must rise above their own ambitions and work for the people who elected them.
Moreover, their habit of saving political face is meaningless. Millions of people are out of work, even more millions are out of money and their present as well as their future is non-existent. As if it is not insulting enough that our lawmakers have incredible, guaranteed benefits in their jobs, it is even more unbelievable that they are not doing their jobs.
Are the people angry? Apparently not angry enough, not just yet. President Obama cannot blink in this budget crisis. He cannot fall victim to another attempt at a short-term fix and continue the rewards for the wealthy at the cost of the middle class. The GOP must accept that the middle class just has no more to give.
Lighten up on your stock market positions and hang on to your hats. It is going to be a bumpy ride. The trip will be worthwhile if we end up loving our children, our country, more than we hate each other.