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Then and Now

As we wait for www.healthcare.gov to become fully operational, we hear our representatives in Washington D.C. exchange vitriolic speeches about entitlement funding and the debt ceiling. I am no less disturbed and confused by the threats than everyone else is. 

If we are to believe what is said, the financial system as we know it will collapse a) if we don’t raise the debt limit, or b) if we do raise the debt limit.

Huh? 

Both arguments are being played out in the media ad nauseum without any obvious resolution. It’s tempting to harken back to colonial times when our founding fathers simply put pen to paper and – presto! – the Constitution of the United States was written. Let it be known that our founding fathers argued plenty and took many years to define this system of government and write this document. The years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the formation of the United States of America were filled with shouting matches, followed eventually by compromise. In the absence of political parties as we know them today, there were the “Jeffersonians” who were liberal and believed in individual rights, and the “Hamiltonians” who were conservative and believed in a strong central government. In other words, our society has, from its inception, been sharply divided philosophically. What we are witnessing in the media today is not new: our country has been philosophically polarized since the beginning. Our government was formed by some pretty wise fellows who constructed it with checks and balances such that we must work together in order to move forward. We may look back at our country’s formation and believe that the questions and answers were simple and that compromise was easy. It wasn’t for them and it isn’t for us today. But do it we must. 

It is time to come together and move forward.