Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 3, 2013

In the House of Wood

Get out of the ditches

By Steve Woodhouse

---- — The United States government has shut down, but yet, the sun came up, the seas still roared and Social Security checks were still issued.

I’m sure some of you will think that I will take advantage of this opportunity to beat up on the Democrats, as the Democrat-led Senate failed to pass a budget for several years, and this time around, failed to approve a spending bill from the Republican-led House. However, that Republican-led House also failed to negotiate and I truly believe that both parties are at fault for this most recent debacle.

Mike Helle was once a driver’s ed instructor. He said that when his students went too far to the left or right, they would end up in the ditches. Both parties in Washington have gone so far to their respective viewpoints, and failed to meet in the middle, on the road of leadership and success, and put America in the ditch.

The conservative in me says that the government is better off in shutdown mode, with only “essential” employees working. If someone is receiving a federal paycheck, who is not “essential,” then why does their position even exist?

Then I went to visit the Corps at Lake Red Rock and remember the good programs and recreational opportunities available there. All of these things bring money into Marion County and the entire area. That money might be missed if this shutdown is prolonged.

It continues to anger me that we, as a nation, continue to send children back to Washington, D.C. Or, at least, these children get elected to the leadership posts that dictate what the rest of our representatives do. Compromise is not an ugly word, and I think more of it needs to be done on both sides. I believe that the Republicans have given up a lot more of what that party stands for to compromise with the Democrats than vice versa. It seems as though the Democrats can get away with anything they want, with most of the media in their pocket.

But this shutdown and the future of our nation goes way beyond politics. We have continued down the path of losing the respect of the rest of the world – a journey that began under George W. Bush – to the point that we as a nation have become a laughingstock.

Con Coughlin with the UK Telegraph wrote on Tuesday, “There was a time not so long ago when the world looked to America for both political and economic leadership. But now that can no longer be taken for granted thanks to Mr Obama’s inability to provide decisive leadership on either front.”

He used the example of Russia’s ability to take the lead on the situation in Syria, and continued, “In short, the longer the Obama presidency continues, the more America’s status as a superpower ebbs away.”

Doesn’t that bother you? It bothers me.

How can we be taken seriously as a peace broker when we’re selective in our own military strikes, and our continued use of drones?

How can we provide an economic example when we are $17 trillion in debt, and have dedicated trillions more that we do not have to different liabilities?

Do you consider America a shining example of leadership in education, morality, prosperity and freedom anymore? If we can’t here, how can the rest of the world?

I was relieved to see on Tuesday that, despite the shutdown, World War II veterans were given access to the memorials built in their honor. I think a true revolt would have taken place, had they not been allowed inside. But, just as cooler heads and common sense prevailed with these park rangers, it can happen with politicians in Washington, D.C. They just have to want to do it.

Then, we can back up, get our magnificent country out of the ditches and back on the road. We can whip around Russia and everybody else in our way to take our place as the true superpower of the world and the greatest nation on this planet.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.