A stalemate is a position in chess when a player has no legal moves and the game ends in a draw. In chess, a draw is certainly a preferred outcome as it is better than a loss. But in politics and real life a stalemate is a loss – a loss for both sides and a bigger loss for the people.
Republicans think by stalling every move made by Obama they will make him look bad, and they are right. They have been fairly successful in demonizing President Obama. They have opposed every single thing Obama proposed and true to what Rush Limbaugh said early in Obama’s presidency, they would like to see him fail. Democrats, after a short honeymoon celebrating the winning of their candidate after eight years of Republican administration, are now in a slump. They seem to have given up on developing bipartisanship efforts and are worried only about the upcoming elections.
The US is experiencing one of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression in 1930’s. Unemployment is over 10% and in some states it has reached 13%. Infrastructure in this country, which used to stand as a symbol of American achievement, is over 50 years old and crumbling. Among all developed nations, the US ranks the lowest in educational achievements despite the fact that we spend more money on education than any other country.
We have two wars with no end in sight. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in the history of the United States. Wars aside, there are always divisive race and immigration issues that both political parties try to use it to their advantage. Then there is the recent oil spill disaster and, of course, the usual hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and wild fires. The picture is gloomy and for the first time there is a real possibility that our younger generation may not be better off than the current generation.
Improving education, building infrastructure, tapping the power of renewable energy, and developing sustainable solutions require long term planning and cannot be accomplished between elections. Unfortunately Washington politicians are not long term thinkers. They can think only about next election. It takes moral courage to see beyond that. As Joseph Martino stated, “Moral and spiritual decay have brought about the demise of more great nations than any invading enemy force, plague, famine and nature disasters combined.” Our politicians are our biggest threat.
If Republicans shut down Democratic President Obama blindly this time with filibusters, Democrats will do the same next time to a Republican President – There will never be a checkmate, only a stalemate. It is not a win-win situation. It is a loss for America.