Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

As yet another fiscal crisis has been averted, I cannot help but grow ever frustrated with our government. Time after time, the debt deadline looms and every single media outlet known to man blows up, prophesizing the doom and gloom to come. Needless to say, it never happens. Every single time, a miracle occurs as legislation squeaks through Congress to save the American people at the eleventh hour.
On Oct. 17, President Obama stated, “Lawmakers need to earn back the trust of the American people.” The truth is, that trust has been long gone. All these fiscal crises we have averted in the past few years have done nothing more than to give people something to worry about. By now I, like many of you, am numb to the media, the reports, and the analyses. I am sick of the same re-hashed topics being broadcasted over the seven seas, when the only thing that has really changed is the date.
I am losing faith in our system. Nothing ever gets done. Eventually, both sides agree to push back the debt ceiling, and nothing ever actually changes. I do not know how many times I have heard the phrases: “We are going to clean up Washington,” or “We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work!” I can, however, count the number of times work has actually gotten done in Washington: zero.
I am sick of Washington’s games. I am tired of their petty battles running rampant through the media. I am tired of the American people soaking in doctored-up corporate news. I would like to know when we will all see the bigger picture: that Washington readily follows a pattern of increasing the debt ceiling at the very last minute, constantly kicking the same problem further and further down the road.
As Americans, we need to do two things. First, we need to demand that Congress make these fiscal crises their priority, and have them start working on a solution now, not the eleventh hour. Second, and easily the more difficult task, we must tell them to compromise. The idea of a republic is for our representatives to bring our interests and concerns to the forefront of attention, where they will be addressed and handled responsibly. That means compromising and choosing the solution that will benefit the most people, and harm the least. An old quote sums up this wisdom: “A good compromise leaves everyone unhappy.” Our representatives cannot go onto the debate floor breathing fire and cutting down anyone who will not do explicitly what they demand. The houses of Congress are for reason and debate, not sensational media de facto MMA brawls.
If this plan is to work, every American must be prepared to give up something, push only for compromise, and realize there is more at stake here than the fine print on Congressional legislation. Should this pattern continue, should this divisive political wedge the media relentlessly profits from continue its current trajectory, then we as Americans will seal ourselves into a self-fulfilling prophecy of stagnation under a gilded banner of American democracy. The “Great Experiment” we so readily refer to with pride for our governmental system will only be a nostalgic memory as the United States slowly slips under the rising progression of the rest of the world.
The true solution for our troubles lies in compromise. It is the final unspoken component of any representative body. If lawmakers truly desire to earn back our trust, then they must compromise. We cannot look to Congress for leadership and guidance. Instead, we must look at Congress as our civil servants, and Congress must adhere to the desires of the American people. This is a bottom-up endeavor. Change does not begin in the minds of politicians in Washington, but in the homes and hearts of American citizens. We must take responsibility for our own future and set our demands before Congress. After all, there is truly only one: compromise.
Adam Farence is a third-year student majoring in history and French. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu. 

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