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Brinksmanship

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Yesterday, we looked at just how bad things had gotten in the military.  Well, they could get a lot worse:

President Obama is determined to end his second term in another blaze of spending glory, and toward that end he’s taking the U.S. military hostage. That’s the way to understand his threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act.

Yep, you read that correctly.  Obama is willing to put all of us – the entire nation – at further risk than we already are for the sake of his pet projects.

Meanwhile, a discharge petition has been successfully employed in the House.  For the uninitiated, that is somewhere way past rare.

Friends we are in government by brinkmanship.  It must be made abundantly clear –  This is Obama’s fault.  The divisions in Congress are about how to combat his divisive, zero-sum, hostage taking ways.  When things get this bad, it is personal.

Think about it, we’ve all been involved in leading something – the homecoming float in high school, a committee at church , something – that has broken down like this.  And every time it is because one person, we shall call him “the jerk,” in the group has a personal agenda and just does not give a rat’s patoot about whatever it is the group is actually there to do unless and until their personal agenda has been met.  The rest of the group then splinters over the question of whether to give the jerk what he wants for the sake of getting about business, even if it compromises the business to some extent, or kicking the jerk out, or taking the jerk behind the woodshed and kicking his &^%.  I have seen many a good project sacrificed on a jerk’s agenda.

But this is the government of the United States of America.  We cannot just walk away from this project.  But this is the government of the United States of America, which means that eventually the jerk has to walk away.  And then we have the opportunity to rebuild. So the question is, will we rebuild it well?

The Constitution is the fundamental document of our government.  But even it rests on a base – a base of simple character.  For it to work we have to be people of deep and abiding character.  The jerk in any group lacks character, for putting your own agenda ahead of the stated project lacks humility and empathy, two hallmarks of character.  The problem is, if instead of compromising with the jerk, we respond to the jerk with threats, or other responses that lack character, the jerk has succeeded in changing the game entirely.

Let me put that another way.  If we respond to Obama’s brinkmanship with brinkmanship of our own he will have succeeded in “fundamentally transforming the country.”  If we show a similar lack of character, then we pull the foundation out from under the constitution.  If we hold our character we can rebuild the nation that we love.  If we sacrifice our character for the sake of the short term win, what we rebuild may not be anywhere near as good as what we left behind.

Patience and longsuffering are also hallmarks of character.

Hughniverse

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