There Is A Way Forward

In case you may not have known, I enjoy writing from time-to-time about politics. Part of this interest comes from having been an elected official years ago. However, my general motivation is described best by an observation made by Anthony Quinn in an old movie, The Secret of Santa Vitoria: “Politics is the pasta of the people!”

We all get frustrated with our politicians, wish they were better or at least had more understanding of our own positions. Yet, we also love to debate and discuss what is going on in our body politic. We also get flummoxed (like we are right now) when we have a “non-politician” in the White House. Messages keep changing via twitter accounts, and so it is difficult for those making decisions in Washington to know who is on first, second or third base. It is hard to move ahead without consistent leadership from the White House.

It is probably just happenstance, but a couple of weeks ago in this column I wrote the following about how the two leaders of the Senate (Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer) might move things along: “Maybe it is time for these two leaders of the Senate to negotiate with each other, find and pass legislation which has bi-partisan support, and then send that to the President. He will probably sign it for another “win.”

This past week that is exactly what happened. Faced with another shut-down and the need for predictability and stability in the financing of our federal government including the military, Congress approved a budget plan that takes us to March, 2019. That gets us through the 2018 mid-term elections and, hopefully, takes the government off its week-to-week funding schedule.

Can you imagine what would happen if a major corporation in America were operating without a budget and using a week-to-week, patch-work financing scheme? The shareholders would fire the Board of Directors, its President and management team and start over. But this doesn’t happen in government though the United States is the biggest corporation in the world. Such are the ways of politics.

I must say, through all of this, that I have a growing respect for our U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer. He is under tremendous pressure from the liberal wing of his party, home-based in New York City, to toe-the-line on a more progressive agenda in Washington. Yet, the country needs him to find middle ground. The country cannot stop running. So, he went to Mitch McConnell and they made a deal to do just that. Good for them!

Some Democrats will throw stones at Schumer but I give him credit for common sense. Politics is aspirational, but it is also the art of the possible. When the country is as polarized as it is, we need leaders who can find common ground.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.