Dun Deal

Politics has become a turf war between two competing factions.

Was there ever any doubt that Washington would find a way to raise the debt ceiling?

All that high drama was not for the sake of getting a bill all players could support, but for getting a bill and scoring as many political points as possible in the process.

Politics - the business of ordering the polis, or, city, for justice - has become a turf war between two competing factions who seem only incidently to have the interests of the nation at heart.

That's the argument former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards puts forward in the July 2, 2011 issue of The Atlantic, and I think he's mostly right. It's not difficult to see that Congress and the President are going to keep running up the national debt. The wheels and gears of our big-government society are cranking far too smoothly to think that a cut of a couple trillion could keep us from going over the debt edge at some point in the future.

The debt-ceiling drama was precisely that: one party positioning itself to hold onto power and its cherished vision of the provider state, the other party doing its best to make the incumbents look bad. The paltry results would be negligible were it not for the promised vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. But is that component, too, merely an opportunity for political one-upsmanship?

If this present result is the best we can expect, the national debt is going to keep growing; and government is going to come after us to pay their bills. Whether in the form of tax increases, property devaluations, or inflation, "we the people" will ultimately pay the price for our political parties having exchanged a vision of national greatness for one of party success.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party movement - whom we have to thank for whatever good there is in this situation - is vilified by the vice-president and his democratic cronies and, at best, merely tolerated by moderate Republicans. For my money, however - that is, before Washington gets whatever is left of it - I congratulate the Tea Party crowd for having enough fiscal common sense to force this issue to its present outcome.

Imagine what those folks could do if they ever decide not to stifle their social consciences.

Related texts: Romans 13.1-5; Deuteronomy 17.14-20; Matthew 5.13-16

A conversation starter: "Well, we've passed the debt ceiling crisis. But is this the real crisis in America? Isn't there something more fundamentally wrong in our nation than the size of the national debt?"

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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