Did Legal Sanity Inspire the US Government Shutdown?
Yes, its true. No blog posts here at Legal Sanity in three months, since the eve of July 4 – Independence Day. The inability of my right brain and left brain to come to agreement on what and when to write caused the shutdown at Legal Sanity. Apparently, this lack of brainy cooperation spilled over to Congress and inspired this unfortunate shutdown.
Putting my bad humor aside, the harsh reality is that absent a quick resolution, the damage to the economy will be immense and cause tremendous suffering for many people.
Reflecting back to my July 4th post provides the context for me to look at the current Government Shutdown. Our Founding Fathers had extremely strong political differences and argued vehemently between themselves on the shape and form of our government. It was a battle that did not find a healthy and sustainable resolution for 12 years, until 1788, when the Continental Congress was replaced by the US Constitution and Congress, and our modern government took shape. Of course, this battle continues to play out in our political system but the cornerstone of compromise has allowed us to progress and succeed as a nation.
To come to agreement in 1776 and again in 1788 was no easy task. With strongly polarized and emotional positions in 2 main camps, getting to agreement required dialog, respect, cooperation and compromise. I am fairly confident that if our current Congress had been at the helm back in the late 1700′s, right now we’d all be paying allegiance to the British Crown, speaking proper English and playing football with a round ball. Aside from my British friends who don’t understand why this would have been a bad thing, my other American friends agree this would not have been good.
So here we are in the USA with a highly dysfunctional government and a system that seems to no longer work the way it should and must. How do we find our way out of this mess, with the debt ceiling crisis only 2 weeks away and no sign of resolution?
The key is finding a way to bridge the differences and reclaiming the art of the reasonable compromise. Given the highly polarized nature of politics, a cadre of highly experienced non-partisan mediators should be engaged by Congress to serve as intermediators between the various factions. Drawing upon my experiences as a mediator for the past decade for the Federal and State Courts in New York, I believe that this offers us the best hope of getting resolution and avoiding future shutdowns. I will discuss this more in my next post. In the interim, please feel free to weigh in on this important issue.
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