Are we not all feeling about now like sailors trapped aboard the SS Brinkmanship going down in a storm off the coast of Acrimony?
What is it about edges and coming close to the brink of disaster that’s so alluring, so tempting to our political leaders?
Why do they love to come as close as they can to these cliffs, to the edges of a 10,000-foot precipice called our looming, ballooning, about to kaboom debt ceiling crisis, this dilemma staring at us in our collective faces from the left and the right.
Are these leaders running the United States of America or some giant amusement park with thrill rides, breathtaking roller coasters, and are about to set lions and tigers loose for the heck of it. What fun! How thrilling! What’s a leg here? An arm there? Have a chair. Enjoy the show. They say it won’t hurt that much.
Why does it make Speaker McCarthy’s eyes widen and his mouth water to have a daily starring role in such a drama? And our grandstanding President seems to enjoy his blood pressure spiking as he and Schumer barrel headlong towards a giant waterfall. How exciting!
Sure, we want to put government spending under control, exercise some discipline instead of constantly going deeper into debt like there’s no tomorrow.
Sure, we want to keep our economy stimulated, people working, infrastructure improving and our climate changing for the better, so there will be a tomorrow!
Sure, we need all those things with three more ingredients added to the debt crisis recipe—a spoonful of rationality, a smidgeon of common sense and an ounce or two of, pardon the expression, compromise. To some in politics, that’s a foul-tasting additive. A dirty word. A cowardly retreat.
Meanwhile, politicians seem to enjoy suspense much more and relish battling for those precious few minutes in the media spotlight than a solution, which would mean, alas, perish the thought, the-show’s-over, folks. Good night!
And us citizens like you and I, what are we doing?
We’re sitting ducks watching this late-night horror movie unfold before our very eyes, wondering if we’re about to be mugged, our savings ransacked, our stocks and other investments detonated, and see our social security checks and other government payments drown, and their corpses floating down river and us without a canoe or a paddle to retrieve them, wondering how are we going to do things like eat, pay our rent, buy our medicines and other luxuries we need to stay alive . . . long enough to vote!
Tom Madden is a dramatist with a way with words you’ll find in his articles, blogs and books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, about how to make writing inviting. And when he’s not writing he’s busy doing publicity for clients of his PR firm, TransMedia Group.