Monday, October 7, 2013

Washington at Play with Pricey Toys

Back when my kids were much smaller, I was sometimes forced to employ a tactic similar to that currently on display in Washington, DC. When the kids would leave their favorite toys scattered all over the floor and not pick up after themselves— despite many pleas, threats, and warnings—the big black trash bag would come out. These highly visible and very popular toys were deemed unessential because they were left lying about in heaps on the floor and no one cared enough to put them away. They were placed very carefully into the black trash bag and taken out to the garage in a show of parental control and force. Perhaps not the best leadership scheme, but a stunning tactic that captured everyone's attention.

Of course none of these toys were ever thrown out (at least not in the heat of the moment). The beloved toys in the big, black trash bag were now my leveraging tool. The kids could promise me the moon, cry up a storm, throw a tempter tantrum, and then finally calm down. With a clear mind and calm demeanor, we negotiated.

WWII veterans enter the WWII Memorial
on the National Mall despite barriers
Does this sound at all familiar? Despite many red flags, warning signs, empty threats, and generally ignoring what is best for the country, Congress and the President could not agree, forcing a government shut down. Everyone's favorite toys—the Smithsonian museums, the National Parks, the Lincoln Memorial—are shuttered and gated. Essentially disappearing into that big, black trash bag for political theatrics and then splashed all over the TV networks and front pages of US newspapers.

Last week Washington saw plenty of finger-pointing, name calling, and even a few temper tantrums. Those of us ordinary Americans rolled our eyes and wondered what in the world Washington was up to next? Guess what folks, we elected them! Maybe next time think about your vote and if you really want to send your Member of Congress back to DC.

It is time for those who got us into this mess to take a deep breath, pause, pull on your big boy/big girl pants, and do what you were elected to do. Lead this great nation. President Obama needs to be a leader, not dig his heels in until Congress gives in. Congress must negotiate with the Oval Office. Both parties must be realistic; not everyone gets what they want. Simply put, compromise.

Make this work. Compromise so you can pull those toys back out of that trash bag. If my kids can successfully negotiate, certainly the leaders of the Executive and Legislative branches of the US government can figure this out and reopen the US government.


Jo said...

Bravo, Christi! Well-stated!

alyssa said...