Washington lacks leaders right nowPublished 12:14pm Thursday, August 11, 2011
Column: Something About Nothing
The Treasury can cry foul all it wants, but the decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade America’s credit rating and the subsequent plunge in the stock market are serious symptoms of a loss of confidence. We are in a sad state because we lack leadership. The debt-ceiling deal between President Obama and Congressional Republicans last week was a complete failure in leadership on all levels. It was an embarrassing debacle.
Look around, people. We have no leaders. It does not matter if you wear Birkenstocks and follow the left or are dressed in Brooks Brothers suits and spew Ronald Reagan quotes from the mountaintop — you failed our country.
Even during the Civil War, which it seems because of sharply divided partisan politics that we are now repeating, we had leadership. Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee led the North and the South admirably.
What do we as a country need to do to find true leadership? Where are the people who have courage and integrity? How nice would it be to find a few folks who combine passion, confidence and clarity during a time when our country needs those fine traits the most.
Is finding a person or people with focus combined with a collaborative nature that hard? Do our current leaders think that we as a country are dumb? I really think they do. Our so-called forerunners are in Washington every day with only one agenda — to get re-elected.
This is why we are suffering as a country. Imagine if they all were really doing what they promised to do? I know that working for the common good of the country seems far-fetched, but hey we can dream can’t we.
A week ago 30 Americans, including 22 U.S. Navy SEALs were killed in Afghanistan. Guess what our leaders were doing? Playing chicken with our credit rating. Yes, our leaders were playing in a real life version of the movie “Unstoppable.” Please take a guess at what happened during that movie when the trains were headed for each other. Yep. They narrowly missed hitting each other head on and only managed to smash the last car on one of the trains.
That last car was blown sky high and splintered wood and steel went everywhere. Guess what? That last car was our credit rating in the world. We avoided a head on collision, but stayed too long on the same track.
Well, it is time to get off this track we are on and find a few conductors who are better and keener than what we currently have.
Make no mistake about it, this column does not slant right or left. This column is all about responsibility and direction. This column is about hope.
I will step off my soapbox now.
Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.