Editorial: Leaders acting like kids on break
Here we sit in the unusual period that strings out between one thing and the next.
No, not between one Congress and the next. Not between a shutdown government and one where things get done.
Between Christmas and the New Year.
Most parents can probably tell you that there are a lot of similarities, though.
Right now, kids are at home, doing their level best to forget that school has not shut down for the rest of their lives.
They are not thinking about that math test that happened right before they cut out last week. They don’t want to think about the book they are supposed to read for English class over the break. They know there’s a term paper bearing down on them for April, but that is light years away from their reality and will probably never even have to happen, right?
Now is the time to just hang out with your friends who believe exactly the same thing you do about some science class that will never be important in your life because who will ever need to know anything about science?
Now is the time to roll your eyes when your parents tell you this garbage needs to be handled now because ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away and putting it off will just mean you have more to do down the road.
Now is the time for fits and tantrums with your siblings about who did what and who is responsible and who needs to clean it up.
But the kids are wrong, and all the adults in the room know it.
So do the adults in the rooms in Washington, even if there are precious few adults left on either side.
In the wake of the November election, the Senate is anticipating its larger majority with several Republicans even more closely aligned with the White House. The House Democrats are looking ahead to their ownership of the gavels and the ability to call shots on hearings and subpoenas and introduction of legislation that would not have gotten anywhere last year.
The president, meanwhile, is digging in his heels on the border wall and watching as several job titles change hands over his newly announced Syrian withdrawal.
And everything is bearing down on the first showdown — that shutdown.
What everyone needs to remember is that our nation was built not on obstinate breath-holding until someone wins or passes out. It was built on compromise. The very balance of power between the executive and legislative branches was about a give and take of what some could stomach and what others would accept. The reason we have two chambers in Congress and what they each represent was a negotiation.
So with a few days left over Christmas vacation, let’s hope everyone remembers there is still work to do in the New Year, and that it’s really a group project. If everyone doesn’t participate, nobody is going to succeed.