Ever gone to the beach when you were little and played in the sand? I remember doing that on the Jersey Shore. I enjoyed building sandcastles and drawing in the sand. The only problem was I knew that once high tide came in my hard work would vanish. Even my greatest efforts were whisked away by the waves.
I like to think this is a good metaphor for politics right now. I might be a Democrat, but I can admit that both sides are drawing lines. Neither side wants to truly give in to the other and thus have become more polarized than ever. According to Govtrack.us, between the 106th and the 111th Congress, 3 of 6 percent of bill were made law. In this session of Congress, only 0.5 percent has been enacted so far. With the election closely approaching, I’m pretty sure that number won’t get any higher.
Gridlock is a condition which can be helpful. A slower process gives legislatures more time to think about the implications of the bill. However, today the process is mainly used for political gains. Both sides put up legislation knowing it won’t get passed only to gain them political points back in their home district. The best example I can think of is the attempts the GOP has made to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” On July 9, NPR reported that House Republicans were going to make their 31st attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This means that there was 30 times before where they placed a similar bill up, debated, and voted on it, all while knowing that the Senate and the president wouldn’t allow this bill to pass. I understand that it’s important to the GOP to repeal this act, but instead of introducing other legislation to replace it they decide to waste our time and our tax dollars.
Albert Einstein said that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I couldn’t agree more. So GOP, why 31 times? Because the GOP and Democrats wants to stick to their core beliefs at all cost. In the end, the only ones who are winning are the politicians.
So how does this all relate to the beach? Let’s say a line in the sand is a belief or policy which either party stands on and the waves are issues, like global warming or debt. Both sides can keep trying to stick to their values, but if no change is done to prevent the wave from coming in then we will lose everything. Sure, get rid of the Bush Tax Cuts. It’s a good idea, but the debt is still growing. What about investing more in deep sea drilling while pushing off concerns of global warming? Fine, but that doesn’t stop the sea level from rising. The point is if we don’t come together to figure out a solution soon it will be too late to solve the problems.
It doesn’t matter who wins this November. Politicians cannot continue to push legislation solely to win brownie points with constituents. If they really want to tackle the big issues they need to come together, be willing to compromise and act like adults. Either do this or let the waves wash everything away.