Did you ever feel like a chess piece? Like you’re a pawn on a board waiting for the next move?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t really understand chess. I’ve rarely played chess, so I can’t fully comprehend it. I know it’s a game of calculated strategy and thinking through your moves as well as the moves of your opponent. I know that every move or non-move can affect the outcome of the game. I know that saying check is a good thing and saying checkmate is a better thing. Which brings me of course to ... the government shutdown.
Check! That’s where we are here. We’re all in check and only a few of us can comprehend what that means. Unfortunately I understand just enough to formulate a thought, but not enough to present a valid argument. Fortunately for me we’re dealing with Washington politics and that means formulating thoughts to present an argument only needs common sense and common sense is something I’ve got buckets of.
So here we sit, more than two weeks with a government that is shut down. Images of veterans trying to visit war monuments, kids trying to get into zoos, silly homemade signs hanging on government doors stating they’ve been sent home. These are the current images we’re enjoying right now, but here’s what’s coming if this continues. The images will change to people waiting for hours in unemployment lines, kids going hungry, and more. This political posturing really has to end. OK, fine, if you want to blame the Republicans, blame the Republicans, if you want to blame the Democrats, blame the Democrats. Now that’s done, blame has been sufficiently shifted but not a single problem has been solved. So at this point you can call yourself whatever you like, pawn, rook, knight, it doesn’t really matter because really all these Bobby Fischer types are doing is sitting in a large room screaming "Check" at one another.
So what are we talking about here? A little something called the debt ceiling ... I think when it was cool, we called it the fiscal cliff. Regardless of the label you want to give it, it’s real and it’s bad, which makes it real bad! Apparently this thing can really wreck us if we don’t figure out how to raise it or unfreeze it or whatever has to be done. But you’re probably like me and either don’t understand it or know just enough to scratch out an article warning everyone that our elected officials are once again playing with fire.
Again, the one thing I know is simple commence sense gets us out of trouble; we may not like the course of action we have to take, but we can do it. Hell, since we’re talking debt ceiling, let’s hand this over to the roofers of the world. Now, you may be thinking, "Why would you give roofers this problem?" Well, it’s simple. They may not know how to solve the problem as it sits now, but they sure can say, "Don’t spend more than you have." I gotta believe that’s a good start.
I don’t mean to make light of it because what we have here is fairly serious. But we’ve been led down this path before, so it’s sort of hard to take serious. We’re all busy running our own day-to-day lives that are laced with fiscal responsibility and common sense. Well, common sense until we get into the voting booth, then I truly believe we lose all common sense because we keep electing the same people that don’t have common sense solutions to problems and aren’t able to work together.
If today’s column does one thing, I hope it’s this: Take a minute out of your day to write all members of Congress and tell them not that you’re ashamed of them (even though you have every right to be), and not to say they’re wrong (even though they may be), but suggest that while they bicker their constituents are eagerly awaiting the next election cycle to determine whether they’ll be employed the next term. Checkmate! What the hell is up with that?