By Kathi Bliss
Just when we think that our leadership in Washington can’t stoop any lower or take any greater lengths to prove that they are completely disconnected from the American people, they make an exciting new announcement that reminds us once again that they stopped caring about us long ago.
This week, the White House opted to threaten the 135-year-old White House Easter Egg Roll. The beloved event, it appears, will be in danger of being canceled if our Legislators can’t reach some kind of agreement to stave off the government shutdown next week.
Never mind the thousands and thousands of dollars of wasteful spending that could be cut out of other areas of the budget. Oh, no. Let’s cancel a happy, celebratory event that focuses on our children… because that seems like a good idea.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Of course, only a few hours after the news broke that the White House had warned that the Easter event might be canceled, they backpedaled and said, “no, we don’t think the Easter Egg Roll is in danger, because we think that both sides will reach a compromise.”
That’s all well and good. But the best way to ensure that “both sides reach a compromise” is to make sure there are some consequences if they don’t.
The government shutdown is threatening to impact “non-essential” employees, who could be furloughed without pay. “Essential employees,” like legislators and their staff, the President and his staff, and other upper level government folk will be expected to continue working, and will therefore continue to draw a paycheck.
Which would be all well and good… if we were able to pretend for a moment that the Congressmen or Senators were working in the first place. These people haven’t actually “worked” in years.
If they were working, then we wouldn’t be standing on the precipice of yet ANOTHER government shutdown. If they were working, they would be thinking about what their priorities ought to be; they would be abandoning political party ideology and remember that they represent the American people – not Democrats or Republicans specifically. And they CERTAINLY wouldn’t be kicking our already injured economy while it’s down.
I invoked the idea of Dr. Seuss at the start of this column for two reasons: first, as a reminder that canceling the Easter Egg Roll will do nothing but steal joy from children and families; and second to remind us all of the way things turned out for Mr. Grinch.
After he “stole Christmas,” the people of Whoville got together to sing Christmas carols and celebrate, anyway. In doing so, they taught the Grinch about the real spirit of Christmas, and in doing so, saved it.
Which is kind of what we, as a population need to do now.
I’ve noticed once again, as we teeter on the edge of this latest-and-greatest fiscal crisis (until the next one, of course), we, too, have lost the spirit and have become a population of Grinches running around. We’re so busy being convinced that we’re right and the other guy is wrong, that we have completely forgotten about the spirit of compromise. And if we can’t compromise, why should those we’ve elected to lead us?
So maybe we knock it off. Maybe we stop thinking of one another as Republicans or Democrats, Libertarians or Independents, and we just start regarding one another as AMERICANS. Just maybe, if we do that, and start listening to one another, instead of just waiting for our turn to talk, then the people that we’ve hired to represent us will “catch the spirit” and do the same.
Or… we can continue with the status quo. But since we now have a financial crisis that’s threatening to cancel Easter, you can bet, they will be threatening us with Christmas next.