I don’t pay much attention to opinion polls, because they’re only as good as the pollster, and many of them are faulty in one way or another. But you don’t have to be a Harvard Business School graduate to realize that the average voter has little or no respect for government, from the top down.
It isn’t any wonder that the daily commuter from White Plains to Grand Central, or from Mineola to Penn Station, who’s just trying to get to work and survive, is totally confused by the idea that the U.S. government is about to shut down for the second time in recent years. Shut down? How do you shut down the government of the world’s No. 1 democracy?
Washington, D.C., today isn’t what it used to be. Once upon a time, men and women with the stature of giants walked the halls of the U.S. Congress. During their tenure, America built new roads and bridges, created veterans’ hospitals and preserved precious lands for the national park system. Federal dollars were directed at curing diseases, and somehow even the poorest of people got a break through college assistance grants and, yes, things like food stamps.
Today’s Congress isn’t what it used to be. By and large, the leaders with dreams for the future are almost all gone, having been replaced by legislators with narrow philosophical thinking and, in some cases, a hatred of the government and everything it stands for. There are still a few good people traveling each week to Washington, and we’re blessed to have many of them in this region. I can easily name a dozen of them.
There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, so it’s hard to believe that 40 of them could throw the government into a state of pure turmoil. How could 40 elected officials be able to close the park system, shut down the passport offices and force the vast majority of federal employees to sit at home for an indefinite period of time? The answer is simple: Government in Washington is broken.