Friday, October 4, 2013

Tear Down The Barricades

150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln ended the Gettysburg Address with, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Today, our government barricades our national monuments to prevent our citizens, including our aging veterans, from paying their respects to the heroes and heroines of our nation. Monuments that only saw temporary barriers following 9-11 now are blocked not due to threat, but because the administration wants to score political points.

The national mall is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; until now. The multitude of monuments commemorating great Americans, war heroes, and momentous events are open during the worst weather, during protests, and during previous government shutdowns. Yet our government is paying to barricade us from connecting with our heritage, paying our respects, and learning about our history because federal employees are furloughed. 

Lincoln did understand that the government is one of the people, by the people, and for the people. The actions of our government this week are ones of government over the people. Regardless of which party you are rooting for, no matter whether you want more or less government spending, denying our citizens access to our, and I mean our, national monuments is unacceptable.

Mr. President, please tell the Park Service to tear down those barricades! They belong to the American people! Those we elect and those hired to manage, maintain, and protect these treasures, work for us. No one has the right to deny citizens access to our monuments.

Whoever decided that punishing the American people in order to gain political advantage should lose their job.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Needed; Solutions not Blame

Reading and listening to the daily news and seeing and hearing what people write and talk about, then comparing that with what is going on in the world makes one wonder about our society’s priorities. Do we know what is important anymore?

This morning, our federal government partially shut down. Our President has stated that he will not negotiate, yet he places all blame on the opposition party. The Senate leadership just says, “no” to everything coming out of the House. The House passes multiple continuing resolutions to fund the government, but because the Senate refuses to consider them, one party is characterized as “doing nothing.” 

Our nation faces many serious problems ranging from out of control spending and debt to a lack of civility and tolerance of differences of opinion. 

Where, oh where are the “grown ups” now? When I was young, I had the example of adults who acted as grown ups. They worked together, they sought solutions, and they knew that they didn’t get to have everything their way. Hard work, honesty, and the milk of human kindness were their foundation.

It seems that there are not a lot of “grown ups” in politics. Partisan advantage, bickering for press coverage, and name calling seem to be far more important than finding solutions that help Americans.  Is it about blame, feeling good, and getting your own way? Is seeking viable solutions not really the goal?

Yet there are far more than politicians engaged in this behavior. Look at the disrespect shown to others in your state, in your community, and even in the organizations you choose to belong to. 

It is time for each American to put aside childish attitudes and begin the process of seeking solutions rather than seeking how to blame others. Stand up and be a leader who embraces differences of opinion and looks for the common ground. America needs more grown ups right now and hard work, honesty, and a kind spirit will do much good today. Anyone can demonize others, we need more people who seek solutions without assigning blame.