As expected, the debt ceiling crisis went right down to the wire on Wednesday. But Republican officials in Washington still seem to be fixated on some kind of legislative high-wire act, as they grudgingly accepted a compromise that kicked all the problems down the road, where they'll have to be dealt with again this winter.
A short-term fix is better than no deal at all, given the situation, but it doesn't solve our long-term problems. And, it again makes the United States look foolish in the rest of the world, which still looks toward our country for leadership. The economy might have a chance to grow if there's some semblance of stability, but what business in its right mind is going to invest significant resources in anything now when we'll have to deal with these same issues all over again in just a few months. Dedicated workers in the public sector did not deserve what befell them in recent weeks.
This constant polarization is bad for the public and private sectors, but it is House Republicans who really come out looking bad after their political rampage of recent weeks. If their idea of governing is to drag the country to the precipice of what was shaping up to be a catastrophic event before they finally do something, what does that say for their governing skills? Politics at the federal level is a contact sport. But the essence of a democratic government like ours is compromise and diplomacy, not holding the country hostage until some if not all of our demands are met.
The Affordable Care Act is established law. Those who don't like it should work to improve it. Many in Washington don't care for our gun control laws so they are working to change them. They are not attempting to trash the government and the economy out of bitterness. We have learned why our Founding Fathers so dreaded the formation of political parties. If one political party reacts to the rejection of its agenda at the polls by resorting to extortion to get what it wants, the checks and balances outlined in the Constitution can exist.
There has to be a middle ground somewhere. There has to be a way for compromise to prevail. Going through another Hail Mary scenario like the one that has gripped the nation for the past few weeks is no longer acceptable.
If it happens again this winter, Americans should make their feelings known at the ballot box. That seems to be the only thing some elected officials in Washington pay attention to. And that is sad.