Prior to the inevitable, the federal agency I work for warned me and my fellow federal workers of the pending “lapse of appropriations.”
My fellow Americans, what took place as of midnight Sept. 30 was both a symbol and symptom of a far greater lapse — the lapse of governance.
At that point, as Democrats held firm in the Senate and Republicans offered vainly disguised efforts of compromise, Congress as an institution failed the American people.
It could be deemed ironic that congressional leaders expressing their support of the Constitution would, in fact, display so callous disregard of one of their most basic of duties under the Constitution.
For in the months leading up to the shutdown, or as most accurately stated, partial shutdown, of the federal government, neither body of Congress, the House or Senate, succeeded in passing 12 major appropriation bills, the heart of discretionary spending that funds the overwhelming majority of day-to day operations of the federal government.
Instead, the inevitable path was the tortuous and bitterly partisan battle of the continuing resolution, a feat that Congress could not muster as midnight approached on Sept. 30.
This would be so tragic if it were not so pathetic. For continuing resolutions, the very symbol of congressional impotence has in recent years become the norm, not the exceptional form of masquerade of governance in Washington. For those who cannot remember, and for those who chose to ignore, which most certainly embodies the 530-plus elected “representatives,” 1987 marked the year of distinction — all 13 major appropriations bills passed and signed into law before Oct. 1. Needless to say, as we watch the staged political drama of the latest congressional legislative train wreck, we are left to ponder where have we failed.
For in Washington it has moved far beyond a lapse. We are in fact in a void — a vast emptiness, directionless, perhaps at times worthless effort to govern. For what has lapsed is common sense, civility, leadership and, perhaps worst of all, the void of statesmanship. No one from the halls of Congress to the executive desk of the oval office itself has displayed an ability or even expressed a desire to rise above partisan politics, petty self interests and blind arrogant ego-driven pursuits of political power.
What must change this? Well, to begin with the American people must above all else express their lapse of tolerance, their indignation toward a political class unable, unwilling and worst of all unconcerned about governing this great nation.