Stuck in the Mud

I was the son of a farmer once.  Didn’t want to be a farmer myself, but in a way I was.

Farmers understand what it’s like to be stuck in the mud.  It has happened to the best of us.

You’ve got chores to do.  You’ve got bills to pay and deadlines to meet.  So the rain can’t stop you.

Sometimes, however, you’re out there doing what you have to do and the rain is so resolute the ground gets soft under your feet and under the tractor wheels.  You can’t see how sloppy it is until it’s too late.

I’ve been there.  I remember a time when the old family Farmall M sank until the rim of the tire was covered.  The tractor was down more than a foot into the wet ground and I couldn’t drive it out.  When I stepped off the M, my boot went down so deep I became stuck just like the tractor.  Because my sock slipped off and I was able to pull my foot from the sunken boot was I able to get to shelter, a mud-caked mess.

The situation with the nation’s budget makes me picture 535 lawmakers mud-caked just like I was.  I’m not sure how much rain they have to endure to realize they can’t cross the low spot in the barnyard with a Farmall M.  They just can’t.  I know.

Lawmakers need a solid plan on solid ground.  They can’t let falling rain – even a downpour – alter their responsibilities and adversely affect the nation.

I don’t recall now how my circumstances ended that rainy day more than 50 years ago, but I survived.  I know the dilemma facing lawmakers is a lot more complex than doing farm chores, but being stubborn and resisting the obvious is a great waste of energy regardless of the task.

In this case, it wastes taxpayer money, too.  And it frustrates all of us because we know that struggles in the mud are futile.

The sad part for America is that Congress seems willing to ignore the criticism being heaped upon it.  Maybe lawmakers view themselves as untouchables.  Maybe they think that taking a stand exempts them from accountability for the well-being of the nation.

Sorry, but stubbornness does not supersede accountability.

It is time lawmakers replaced their rain-soaked political hats with dry ones that bare the label “statesmen.”

The debate about principles and time-sensitive policies can continue; the problem with the nation’s debt and spending habits can be addressed simultaneous to passage of fair and equitable laws.

Compromise is what Americans want.  Open discussions that reveal all of the facts is what Americans want.  Politics is what Americans are learning to hate.  And when the people hate the nation’s politics, revolution can’t be far behind.

Therefore, it’s time for Congress to get out of the mud.

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