Our Debt Ceiling is our own self-imposed witless and painfully counter-productive American Sword of Damocles. I am once again expressing myself in grand terminology or metaphor. I do this quite often in order to get my point across, or rather clearly and cogently explain and convey an appropriate sense of urgency. It’s my prerogative. I mention the Sword of Damocles, in particular an American Sword of Damocles. In my humble opinion it is an appropriate example for our given situation.
What is the story of the Sword of Damocles? In brief, Damocles was offered the opportunity to sit on the throne and assume power by his King, Dionysius. Damocles was much enamored by the King and the trappings of power and luxury. However, when Damocles ascended to the throne he found a large sword hanging above him by a single hair from a horses tail. He begged to be release from the throne, and his wish was granted. Through this example the King wished to convey how it felt to be a person of power and responsibility, that at any given moment you could be cut down, perhaps even by your own hand.
Today we are squabbling like children over who won the Fiscal Cliff fight, and whether or not it was actually good for Americans, and in the final summation just how awful it is that in a month we’ll be fighting the Debt Ceiling debate, and in two months Sequestration comes back to haunt us again. One might say we have placed several swords over our heads. However, we can remove them, if we only had the courage to do so.
I am an advocate of critical thinking, and constantly aspire to improve through rationality and perspective, with a healthy dollop of passion included. Even though my articles appear on the liberal side of TACD I claim no party, no ideology. My political affiliation is aspiring critical thinker. When I consider the Debt Ceiling I find a Sword of Damocles has been placed above our heads by our own hands in a vain attempt at control at best, and at worst an awful tool for partisan bickering, to the detriment of all Americans.
We, as Americans have moved far apart and our ideological divide is a poisonous sea that we can only cleanse and traverse if we remember the hallmark of the critical thinker, which is the sincere ability to internalize the perspectives of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically, or even violently opposed to your own.
We need more of the hallmark in our discourse. We need more of the hallmark in Congress. We need to see the truth for what it is, that even though our two party system is rife with issue, and both parties have done wrong, in this day and time the Democrats deserve no blame in our current heated, vitriolic debate. Ask Jon Huntsman. Ask David Frum. Ask David Brooks. Ask Joe Scarborough. Ask Colin Powell. These people are now called RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only). Jon Huntsman even ran for President, suffered a loss and has since been completely stupefied by the inept and ridiculous clown show his party has become.
The GOP elevated divisiveness as an art form to pursue and retain power. You find the proof of this in the screeds from the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Talk Radio, Fox News, and the irascible Rush Limbaugh. This plan was effective only to a certain degree. It has bared fruit, and the fruit is rotten. The plan is now backfiring. Ask John Boehner. This acid in our dialogue divides us even further, and makes the business of building a better America for ourselves and our posterity all the more difficult.
We need more of the hallmark. If those in Congress would truly share perspective with those they oppose as well as us, the American people who just want our country to be the best it can be, they would realize that this Sword of Damocles is our own contrived notion that has and will continue to do irreparable harm to all Americans, if we continue the game of Elephant vs. Donkey in the pursuit of power. The Debt Ceiling is a contrived limit that we have created and its perception globally aids in creating financial chaos. At this time, in this moment … it serves no good purpose.
Perspective would allow Tea Party members to remove their filters. Perspective would allow them to see truth. Perspective would prevent them from actually saying things like, “I’ll let it all burn down before I give the President what he wants.” This is not at all what we need in our officials. We need compromise. We need communication. We need the hallmark of the critical thinker.
In this debate I will again reiterate the four critical areas required to achieve American financial solvency:
1) Military Spending cuts and efficiencies.
2) Medicare/Medicaid cuts and efficiencies.
3) Changes in Fiscal Policy.
4) Social Security reform.
Democrats stand on Social Security being solvent. This is just kicking the can down the road and they toss vitriol at anyone who dares speak otherwise. Some would even call me a liar. Republicans have the sheer audacity to consider increasing military spending. Secretary Gates, a Republican, came into office and started cleaning up the mess made by his predecessors in fiduciary unaccountability, gross negligence, and the harm caused to our soldiers either through incompetence, or the purposeful pursuit of profit. SecDef Panetta has continued this work. We all must support them in continuing changing and improving our military. Medicare too has to change, and the tax code must be reformed. Both sides have their likes and their dislikes. It’s time we worked to close the ideological divide, remove the Sword of Damocles, and truly started thinking critically in order to solve our most intractable problems not is Right or Left, Democrat or Republican, but rather as Americans. Consider it critically.