TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
I am not a “Republican.”
I am not a “Democrat.”
I am not a “Tea Party” member.
I am not a “Green Party” member.
I am not officially affiliated with any political party.
I am, however, one tired American.
As the “government shutdown” continues into its second week, U.S. congressmen and women continue to bicker and carry on like school children — all the while the future of this country continues to slip through their fingers.
I’m sure there are plenty of folks who would argue that point, because they fall on one side of the political fence or the other — and believing whatever is said so blindly as to forget simple logic.
Instead of solving problems, politicians have reduced themselves to name-calling.
They point fingers.
They argue semantics.
They turned on the waterworks for the cameras.
They blather on and on to capture a headline or a TV spot.
They shift blame.
But in reality, the voters, and especially those eligible who don’t vote, should ultimately be the target for blame.
Lest we forget those of us who did vote at all should be the only ones privileged to complain — I’ve said that many times before.
So now the blame game should be over, at least for the American public — the fingers point to the apathy of the American non-voter.
However, since we’re apparently stuck right now — it’s time to start planning for real, legitimate progress.
First we must scrape away at the bloated opinions, snarky comments and TV sound bites and begin looking at basic facts.
No one elected to run the show wants to compromise — from any standpoint, no matter who’s barking about right and wrong. That does nothing to solve any problems — it aggravates them like an itchy scab.
Except now, the wound getting scratched is the already struggling American public.
The newest scratch to itch for the Senate and the House is yet another increase in the debt ceiling.
I spent five years trying to own and manage a business — as has been said to me more than once, “you don’t get rich carrying a dinner pail.”
Translation — working for others can and will likely limit your income potential.
So I went into business, blindly, not knowing how tough running the show can get.
If business was slow or commercial customers dragged their feet paying for services rendered, I didn’t get a paycheck.
Unlike some government representatives, I didn’t try to snag a few headlines by “donating” my salary back into the business.
I just flat didn’t get paid.
Further, if I spent, say $1,000 for parts for a repair job, I certainly would have to charge enough for the job to pay the parts bill.
I’d also have to pinch a piece of it to cover electrical expenses.
Certainly a few dollars has to be brought in to cover labor costs.
So if business drags, or the economy shifts in some unknown parameter, you end up often hanging on by a thread.
I’ve been there — and when the economy shifted, I found myself hanging on by that proverbial thread, until finally that thread got lopped off.
Did I take out crazy loans to try to perpetuate the problems I faced?
No — that is not economically viable.
Did I beg and borrow from friends and family to try to keep my doors open for another month or two while I debated what to do officially?
No — again, that’s not economically viable.
Did I speak scare tactics to my customers by telling them if they chose to do business elsewhere, something bad would likely happen or the competing business would ruin their equipment?
No — once again, that isn’t economically viable.
But here we have the government debating whether to raise the “debt ceiling” even more.
So, now we’re going to throw basic economics straight out the window. There is not one business, whether it’s a small business like Dixie Cafe in Corbin to a huge conglomerate like General Electric, that can realistically operate in the red.
I know — when the invoice pile added up to higher than what I was owed from companies, I knew I was in trouble.
And because of that, the best decision that I could have made was closing the doors.
Now, we can’t close the doors of government — but we as American citizens, taxpayers and voters can and should start speaking out.
And the loudest thing we need to demand is term limits for elected officials — followed by a logical, balanced budget.
I don’t want to see a lifetime politician attempt to tell me how to run my life and the lives of my family and friends. Currently, there are 16 members of the House and Senate who have held their offices for 36 years or more — one of whom has been in his seat since 1955.
Do you really think those people have any type of clue about the real world? The poverty? The unemployment? The ever-rising crime rates?
They might spit out a sound bite or two claiming knowledge, sympathy and understanding — but when these same persons slip on their high heels and neckties, they forget.
But as Americans we should never forget, ever, that We are The People.
John Ross is a reporter for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org