Something big could be about to happen
We all remember the parable about the mischievous shepherd who liked to call wolf when there was no wolf around. Soon no one paid attention to him. But one day, of course, the Big Bad Wolf showed up and despite the silly shepherd’s frantic cries of “wolf” everyone went on with their business and the Big Bad Wolf dined on lamb that night and lots of it.
What got me thinking about this is the general reaction I keep hearing about the latest machinations south of the border in the Excited States of America. “Ho hum” would sum it up and it isn’t really surprising because it has all happened before. Several times before, in fact, with the federal government in a partial shutdown mode while the two Houses of Congress play political chicken with each other until one side or the other blinks, then cobble together a deal giving comedians like Jon Stewart and Jay Leno material for another round of political jokes.
But this time it may be different and Lord help us all if it is.
What makes it different? That’s the obvious question and the answer is simple. A Big Bad Wolf is on the loose in American politics and this wolf won’t be easily tamed because he doesn’t play by the rules that politics have been played in the past. This wolf has broken the two-party system that has worked very well for the U.S., enabling it to become the most powerful country in the world and in many ways the greatest empire the world has ever known. Now the mighty U.S. Eagle has had its wings clipped and is having trouble flying when it used to soar. Now the only thing soaring in the country is U.S. sovereign debt. Close to $17 trillion at last count and rising. You don’t need a rocket scientist to figure out that this can’t go on indefinitely. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself
What’s the Big Bad Wolf destabilizing U.S. politics? It’s the Tea Party, of course, a crazed pack of rogue wolves howling at the moon and calling down wrath on the Great Republic for not doing things their way and turning the biggest democracy in the world into a fundamentalist state ironically very much like the Axis of Evil states that a previous president said were the mortal enemies of the U.S. And even more ironically, like the terror-driven forces the U.S. is at war with now. And who said irony was dead?
Compromise is not a word in the political lexicon of faithful Tea Party members, yet it’s the very lifeblood of democracy and without it democracy withers and dies. Even a country as politically sophisticated and powerful as the U.S. can’t survive for long without politicians willing to compromise. As things stand now, the only thing needed to put the U.S. government fully back to work and raise the debt ceiling yet another time to prevent a catastrophic default is a political compromise. Moderate Republicans would compromise with the governing Democrats in a heartbeat to make such a deal and end the cancerous brinkmanship that is threatening to tear the American political system apart. But the true believers of the Tea Party don’t compromise, and like it or not, it’s their fevered fingers that are pushing the control buttons of the Republican Party. Without their agreement, a compromise appears well neigh impossible.
So as the countdown steadily looms to D-Day Oct.17 when the debt ceiling must be raised or the U.S. defaults and threatens the financial security of the world something big is going to have to happen.
Will President Obama and the Democrats agree to dump “Obamacare” as the Tea Party demands? Not likely. Will the Tea Party compromise on their demands? Not likely either.
Hold on to your seats folks, this could be interesting. And dangerous!
– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and Cranbrook City Councillor. His opinions are his own.