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Monday, January 7, 2013

Cowards make Excellent Can-Kickers

Politicians... They campaign on conviction & govern and/or legislate on cowardice..

Worse-- they govern on compromise.

Been thinking a lot on the whole fiscal cliff compromise last week..  not A Lot but let's just say more so than the average Joe & Jane...  So much scuttling about and melting of principles from both sides to get a deal hurriedly done to appease the stock markets, their Lords & Masters...

A compromise that simply added some taxes here or there, while the majority of needed revenue increases were tossed aside and the painful question of 'What to cut?' was can-kicked for two additional months.

Made us think about the issue of slavery...

How for about 80 years (1787-1865), the politicians of the day; all those that we seem to revere and admire, did not have the courage of conviction to decide the issue of slavery once and for all; was there to be slaves in the new nation forged during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 or was it to continue to exist?
And back then, they hemmed and hawed, and spoke grandiose pro and nay..

Ultimately they limited the import of new slaves to American shores to end officially in 1807 and designated a 3/5th compromise for taxation purposes where the slave was valued at 3/5ths a person of a non-slave...

Then they did some other stuff (just Google the term 'US Constitution' to see for yourself) then adjourned.  Ultimately a couple years later enough states, North & South had ratified it to give our nation birth..

But so few, during the Convention and in individual State Assemblies had the courage to deal directly..

If slavery was to end, it needed to do be abolished Immediately...at the start or the nation's formation.  And if it was to be allowed & tolerated, then it needed to be stated as clear as day what its parameters were, so as to minimize as much as possible individual interpretation and manipulation.

Neither was done, so you ended up with one generation after another manipulating the Constitution to suit their point of view...
And as a nation, we had one fruitless can-kicking compromise after another i.e. the Missouri Compromise (1820) and Compromise of 1850..

It probably would have continued indefinitely and perhaps history books would have written on a 'Compromise' of 1870 if not for John Brown in essence forcing the issue to a head via his Harpers Ferry, Va raid in 1859 to seek to arm slaves so they would insurrect vs their owners.

We don't address this topic in terms of morality, but of practicality...

Because our forefathers and those political leaders generations afterwards, were utter spineless Cowards of men who believed in compromise and keeping the peace, all it it did was delay the inevitable confrontation..

The 'can' became a powder keg with our nation ended up in a bloody and needless Civil War which took the lives of over 600,000 Americans not including untold numbers of physically and psychologically wounded.

In two months, this nation will have to deal with both the debt limit needing to be raised (or not) and decisions over what parts of government expenditure to cut  (All Republican eyes are on a red piece of 'meat' they call 'entitlements' but everyday people call social safety nets.)

And even though there's still about 7-8 weeks before we reach this deadline (for once a line in the sand that can't be fucked with arbitrarily by politicians since the real debt ceiling deadline was Dec 31, 2012), trust that little to nothing will be done until the last minute, and then everyone will be doing a lot of political soul selling for the greater good of them all.

If political leaders possessed 1/10th the courage and conviction they seem to demonstrate on the campaign trail and on those Sundays news programs,  there would be two major Battle Royales going on between Left and Right:

1)  If the possibility of the debt ceiling not being raised presents such a global economic catastrophe and becomes such a political football (Obama voted against raising it when Bush was President and for the second or third time since being in office, seeks the ceiling raised while Reps balk) then the debate parimeters needs to change..

The question not being "IF" to increase but to do so to a large enough number to avoid bi-annual debate and voting.  Increasing by a mere couple Trillion won't do when we owe $16.4 Trillion and are nowhere near in a position to pay it back..  So do we increase the ceiling by a large number like $20 or $50 additional Trillion?  Or get rid of a ceiling altogether?

This needs to be addressed and not side-stepped by our leaders...
2)  Political leaders of both sides need to agree from the beginning that Medicare, Social Security and the like, are either on the chopping block or they're not.  We know the Republicans would love to eviscerate it.  The Democrats say that Social Security is off the table... and yet the President needlessly made concessions on it in terms of future cost of living growth in the last fight..

There needs to be clarity and transparity on this issue-- its on the table or its not.

Voters are strange birds.. they donate time, money and passion into supporting candidates who embrace and will fight for their core values in Washington...

And then complain about 'gridlock' and the 'system' being broken because everyone can't just simply get along and put aside differences..

Yes voters are strange.. and deeply stupid..  and get what they deserve.

Can't have it both ways..
Much like the man who wishes to marry the clean, wholesome girl over the passionate girl with many lovers and experiences, then complains later on how boring and 'vanilla' the sex is...

Can't have it both ways..

What needs to happen over the next two months is the hardcore fiscal conservative Tea Party-ites and the Sincere true-blue fiscally Liberal members of Congress need to go at it, no holes barred and no punches pulled...

All moderates and compromisers take a seat on the sidelines while the big boys n' girls handle things

And whatever comes about, for better or worse, we all know the rules.. the playing field...we all know the albatross of doubt around our necks can be taken off; the "winner" will write the rules and the loser will stew in its own juices of bitterness..

But there's resolution and finality.

That's what this nation needs more shape-shifters and back-benders.