I had a really encouraging experience the other day.
I went for a walk down the street, when two nice gentleman approached me. They were both rather large, and they had tattoos on their necks and faces. Before I had a chance to say ‘hello,’ they pulled out their guns and pointed them at me.
The one on the left said, “give us wallet and your watch!”
But then the one on the right retorted, “no, just give us your wallet and, maybe, like, one of your shoes, or something!”
The guy on the left became visibly frustrated. “No! I want your wallet and your watch! If you don’t hand them over, I’ll shoot you in the head!”
The guy on the right wanted nothing to do with this suggestion. “Outrageous! I say, give over your wallet and your shoe, or I’ll shoot you in the chest, and then possibly kick you in the shins three times, maybe four, but no more than seven!”
Oh boy. These fellas just couldn’t agree on anything! They started to argue and bicker about what, exactly, they should steal from me, and how, precisely, they should brutalize me if I don’t comply.
I tell you what, I was just fed up with all of it. That’s when I puffed up my chest and shouted, “HEY! ENOUGH!”
“You two need to come to an AGREEMENT about what you’re going to steal from me and how you’re going to assault me, and you better do it THIS INSTANT! I’ve had it up to here with your squabbling! This world needs more bipartisanship!”
Suddenly, the argument stopped. They nodded at me, smiled, shook hands with each other, and came to a consensus. They decided to steal my wallet, my watch, both shoes, my jacket, my cell phone and my socks. Generously, they even agreed to only shoot me in both arms and batter me in the knees with a baseball bat.
I thanked them kindly, as I lay on the pavement naked, bleeding profusely; they accepted my gratitude graciously and walked away. I think we all came away from this encounter with a pretty important lesson.
That lesson is this: the most important thing in life is agreement. It doesn’t matter what the agreement is, or what it leads to, or what it involves, just as long as everyone gets along. Amen?
And I can just hear millions of Americans shouting “AMEN” in affirmation. After all, that story should make zero sense to any rational, critically thinking adult. But we don’t have a lot of those in this country these days. Instead, we’re surrounded by flimsy, submissive, henpecked invertebrates who whimper and whine like abused puppies anytime someone raises their voice with an opposing point of view.
Today, the our politicians “came together” to strike a deal to end the government shutdown. They have an agreement. They are on the same page. Bipartisanship! Oh blessed, hallowed, sacred “bipartisanship.” As Republicans and Democrats prance around on cable news, showing off their dexterity by literally bending over backwards to kiss their own butts, I’ve seen many of my fellow citizens celebrate the development.
“It’s about time!”
It’s about time for what, exactly? Do you know what this “deal” accomplishes? Do you know what they’ve ‘bipartisanly’ agreed to do? Well, just spend more money, increase the debt, continue bankrupting our children, expand government and offer no relief to the millions of people whose health insurance premiums have doubled and tripled because of Obamacare. Oh, and it assures that we’ll repeat this charade in another few weeks.
They came together to screw you over. Again. In the end, they always rally around their shared belief that, no matter what, they should have more money and power, and you should have less.
That’s why I never understand the people who complain that Congress can’t “get anything done.” Would you rather them do bad things, just because it’s better than nothing? Personally, I’d prefer that they do good things — protect liberty, cut spending, shrink government, increase efficiency, etc. — but, in lieu of that, I’ll take nothing.
Here’s the attitude we all ought to have towards DC:
BEST OPTION: Do the right thing.
SECOND BEST OPTION: Do nothing.
WORST OPTION: Do the wrong thing.
This is a very simple concept, why do so many struggle to understand it?
Let’s try another analogy. What if you were sitting in a car with me and I presented you with three possibilities for a road trip. We can either drive quickly off a cliff, drive slightly less quickly off a cliff, or drive nowhere. Which would you prefer? Sure, going nowhere would be rather boring. But, on the flip side, going off a cliff isn’t the greatest idea because, well, you’ll be going off a cliff. You know, like, plunging to our demise, painful death, ball of flames; really just an unpleasant experience all around.
Maybe we’ve all seen too many Full House reruns. Maybe we’ve been too taken in by Danny Tanner’s compelling end-of-episode sermons about the wonders of togetherness, sharing, and agreement. Maybe we ought to put down the remote, pick up a book, and read some of the words of the rebellious, obstructionist, extremist, argumentative, passionate, loud, stubborn, courageous ideologues who built this nation. Maybe we ought to consider the possibility that being RIGHT and doing the RIGHT THING is the ultimate goal, and the standard to which we should hold our representatives.
I WANT them to disagree. I WANT them to argue. Our problems don’t stem from “partisanship”; they stem from a lack of it. Do you really think the “mood” in politics is more contentious now than at any other point in history? Need I take you back to 1804 when the sitting Vice President and the former Secretary of Treasury SHOT AT EACH OTHER.
Alexander Hamilton was murdered by the Vice President. And you think our politicians are too nasty nowadays?
Those old boys back in the day used to jab each other with hot pokers from the fireplace and crack one another over the head with their canes. They used to accuse each other of treason and murder. For goodness sake, they even fought a war over their political disagreements. More than half a million Americans died in one of the most ruthless wars in the history of mankind because they couldn’t settle their differences peacefully. And here we are in the year 2013, utterly scandalized if we have to watch politicians argue on CSPAN for a few days.
Don’t cheer this agreement. Don’t cheer it, because it’s a bad agreement, and bad agreements aren’t better than none-agreements. A plate full of horse manure isn’t better than no plate at all. Please, I beg you, stop calling for bipartisanship. We have more than enough bipartisanship; when it comes to the fundamental issues, the two “sides” generally agree. When it comes time to make the really bad decisions, the two “sides” will find a way to work together. They squabble not over how the government should operate, or how big it should be, or how much money it should spend, but simply over who gets to control it all.
Sure, there are a few voices of true opposition. Ted Cruz comes to mind, along with a small scattering of “fringe” Tea Party folks. But, outside of them, these cats are on the same page. Don’t let their bickering fool you. They’re just an old married couple; joined at the hip, eternally bound. They’re at each other’s throats, but they know they’re meant to be together. Isn’t it romantic?
I keep hearing about this supposed “deep ideological divide” in DC, but — apart from the “extreme” libertarian-conservative contingent I just mentioned — I can’t find evidence of it anywhere. Whether the Republicans or Democrats control things, DC still seem to spend more money, expand government, wage needless wars, infringe on liberties, and carry on with the business of generally screwing everything up. They may have a few minor disagreements over percentages, and degrees, and which countries to bomb, and which liberties to annihilate, but the result is always the same.
They win. We lose.
Wake up, America.