For the first time last night, many of my non-political friends and family noticed there’s a major fight brewing in Washington. It probably has something to do with the fact the “Bachelorette” program was preempted. The consensus I’m seeing from these otherwise disinterested friends is that this fight in Washington is a useless game of political tug-of-war. While it is a game of tug-of-war, the implications of this fight are far-reaching and are an outline of fundamental differences between two halves of this country. The national conversation we’ve now been forced to have is long overdue. The looming threat of default has put a deadline on an admission of an inconvenient truth: We’re broke.
Many are asking, “Why now? Why has the GOP decided after years of raising the debt ceiling, that this time it cannot be done?” The answer is simple: The Tea Party. There was a financial awakening in this country in 2009, starting with Rick Santelli’s CNBC rant. The American people were bailing out their neighbors, their bankers, and their car makers with no end in sight. In light of the financial meltdowns of first world countries in Europe, the conservative wing of the GOP has come to realize there are serious consequences for continuing to write blank checks.
Many of the 2010 Tea Party candidates promised their supporters they would do everything to stop the debt ceiling from getting raised if they were elected. These new members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are not career politicians. They are average Americans scared into action, Americans who see the future of their country and their children at risk. President Obama’s attempts to paint these newly elected representatives as rogue forces outside the mainstream are ridiculous. These men and women were elected more recently and in historic numbers. The midterm elections of 2010 were a direct response to how this administration has governed this country.
While the debt ceiling debate is many things, it is not like any political fight we’ve seen in Washington in a long time. This is a deciding moment in American politics, and it’s highlighting the differences not only between members of the Democratic and Republican parties, but also between different contingents of the Republican party. The sooner the American people realize this fight is not about the debt ceiling, but instead about the debt, the sooner we can actually come to the table and decide what path we want America to take. On the Left, the trail leads to Greece. On the Right, it leads to an America that will continue to be a place people will risk everything to become a part of.