The state of politics in the United States is reaching record lows as illustrated by the sequester. The country is facing a very real fiscal issue that can have long-term effects on most aspects of daily life for everyone and no one in Washington seems to care.
When sequestration went into effect, it was largely due to Washington’s inability to take action as a unified representation of the people. These elected officials were unable to come to a permanent solution on the issues of the time so they made a short-term agreement to delay the problems rather than solve them. As time marched on and the problems persisted, it came time for action but the government still found itself stuck in inactivity mode. Personal agendas and party politics hamstrung Congress and infighting as well as contention between Congress and the President led once again to an inability of the government to deal with the issues as political agendas and pet projects took center stage over the reality of the situation and a worsening economic standing for the country as a whole. The sequester became a reality.
Now, with the effects of sequestration beginning to take hold, the politicians have again shown an inability to work together. Instead of working together to develop a solution, politics are again being played out on the grand stage and the government is mired in its inability to function in the best interests of the people. Congress has again resorted to developing budget plans that will not be passed due to politics and real people are suffering. These are the same people that elected these officials into offices of public service. Unfortunately, these public servants have lost the ability to serve the public in their shortsightedness and have become even more beholden to their political parties than to their constituents.
The state of the nation’s education system is quickly devolving and there seems to be little hope on the horizon. In fact, things are becoming worse than they already are. Schools that are dependent on federal funding are facing the real fact of having to shutter schools and drastically cut back both educators and educational programs. These are the same schools that serve those who need it the most. These are the schools who serve military families so that the children of those who protect the right of those same elected officials to lead, or fail to lead, the country are poised to be denied the basic constitutional right to an education. Those schools that serve those who live in poverty are taking a hit and their ability to help these children rise above their surroundings is coming under siege. Those schools and educators that specialize in working with students with special needs to not only get a well-rounded education but to learn life skills and become integrated into society are being scaled back.
Those who have given years of their lives in service to the country through military service are now being told that they will not be repaid by the government assisting them in their lives after their service is done. Tuition assistance for military members, which has long been a given as a way of paying the debt of gratitude that society owes those who serve and protect, is now being denied as the government cannot produce the funding for such programs.
With the specter of a government shutdown looming on March 27 if a budget is not in place, Congress has chosen to develop a budget plan that furthers the agendas of a political party. They figure that now is the perfect time to strike as President Obama will be pressured to pass a one-sided plan to avoid the shutdown rather than working together on a well-rounded plan that would best serve the country. This means that there will be some improvements, such as correcting some of the shortcomings that the sequester has caused in defense spending, but it also means that domestic policies will probably not see the same consideration. Education is one of the programs on the chopping block that Congress seems determined to ignore. Not only is politics keeping the government from serving the needs of the people in the present, it is causing them to damage the future needs of the country and its citizens and leaders in the future. One can only hope that common sense will win the day before it is too late. Unfortunately, that is a hope that grows dimmer with every passing day.