I don’t often watch the Sunday news shows from Washington. In fact, the last time I saw one was, well, I can’t remember the last time. But I did watch CBS News This Morning this past Sunday for about five minutes, long enough to hear some really interesting interview comments from President Obama. And they go right to the heart of what many of you have been commenting on in our recent Staffing Talk posts about Obamacare and what has been going on in Washington.
In my most recent post, that you can read here, a reader by the name of Kevin wrote this in response.
I would like someone to make a case that our government is functioning at all. The truth of the matter is that we have Republicans that refuse to get anything done for fear that it will help Obama get re-elected. We have Democrats that refuse to work with Republicans on anything that might be considered a conservative issue in fear that they will alienate their liberal base. The news media has ceased from being a relieble source of balanced reporting and are now tying themselves to one or the other and pushing their agendas in an effort to attract advertising dollars that lean in that direction. I just realized I might have hit on something there, money wouldn’t have anything to do with it? In the end, I don’t blame politicians as we elect them and I don’t blame the media as we watch them. Look in the mirror people, what are you doing to make this country better? The greatest generation was such because they put their country first, the worst generation is us as we have put the dollar and our own personal agendas at the top of the list. How did this happen? Why did it happen? Here’s a few reasons: We stopped pledging allegiance to the flag and started pledging allegiance to our bank accounts. Those in charge of policy turned us into a global economy and those that are in charge of making more money realized they can make it and not have to work as hard, if we have other countries do the work. How does it get fixed? Stop voting career politicians into office that are run by or organized by the large political machines, see past the money and stop voting along party lines. Know what is going on in the local, state and federal government by participating in government that is by the people and for the people. Get your hands dirty and get back to work America.
It seems President Obama was speaking directly to Kevin, and many of the rest of us, when Charlie Rose asked him the toughest thing about the job so far.
“It’s not the decisions, it’s not the pace,” said Obama, “it’s that I haven’t been able to change the atmosphere here in Washington to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people, Democrats, and Republicans, and Independents, who I think just want to see leadership solve problems. There’s enough blame to go around for that.”
Beyond President Obama, it seems many, or even most, Americans are blaming lawmakers in Congress. Gallup rates approval of Congress at 12 percent, while the Rasmussen polling organization reports that 68 percent of Americans would like to see the entire Congress replaced.
Gallup rates approval of Congress at 12 percent, while the Rasmussen polling organization reports that 68 percent of Americans would like to see the entire Congress replaced.
“Vote the bums out.” That’s historically been the response when dissatisfaction runs rampant, but is that the answer? What makes us think that a bunch of new legislators would be any different if the system is broken, as Kevin and President Obama both contend?
As many of you know, I was in Washington, D.C. recently, immediately after the historic Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. I got into a cab driven by a man who grew up dirt poor in India . He managed to get himself to the United States, and put six kids through college, at such schools as Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, where his eldest son currently has a fellowship at their esteemed journalism school. He was so proud he was carrying around a copy of his son’s resume which he gladly showed me.
“For me, and my family, the American dream is still very much alive,” he said appreciatively. “We are living proof of the opportunity this place provides. But I worry about the future of this country. Every day I read about what the politicians are saying, and I listen to them on the radio and on the TV, and all they do is bicker about the other side. It’s a mess.”
Yes it is. Something that President Obama conceded in his other soundbite on the CBS morning show.
“There is no doubt I underestimated the degree to which – in this town – politics trumps decision making.”