Shutdown as Opportunity

I don’t know when I became this person–one who says something about politics. Then again, I’m not really saying anything–I mean, I’m not arguing a side.

What I want to suggest is that this impasse about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents us with an opportunity that is all-too-easy to miss with all this shutdown drama.

I’ve written before about the idea that the more different we are, the more we need each other. In that post I made specific mention of the marriage issue, but, if I took out those references, the same post is pretty much what I want to say about this shutdown situation.

The reality that a decision cannot be made is a clue that there is more to explore about what is at stake in the ACA.

Instead we draw lines and take sides.

We characterize and demonize the opposition.

We can’t see why those other guys won’t budge.

We blame them for the shutdown but excuse our own dogmatic insistence on our own way.

I’m saying “we” instead of “they” because we are continuing to play out the stalemate in our statuses and tweets. We the people are as divided as the congress.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

What I mean to say is, maybe instead of locking horns, we could look for common ground. Instead of blaming the other side, we can each take the time to listen.

Differences of opinion can be a gift. Hearing all sides helps us make well-rounded decisions with widespread acceptance.

This shutdown, this impasse about the ACA presents us as a nation with the opportunity to listen more deeply to one another.

This kind of listening often leads to creative solutions that are better than what either side could come up with on their own.

It’s easy to blame the Republicans for holding this up–hasn’t this already been decided? But the Democrats could agree to slow things down–wasn’t 2014 a rather arbitrarily-chosen year to start?

I’m just thinking what would be so bad about taking some time to get on the same page? And if there are desperate needs for healthcare right now, then why not adopt a temporary measure to address those until we’re more settled about the larger healthcare situation?

We could take this opportunity to work this through, or we could just shut down on one another. I’d like to see us work together creatively to do what is in the best interest of all people.

What if instead of a dramatic shutdown, we chose to make a dramatic shift in how we engage tough issues as a nation?

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hermano Grande on October 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I like this post. I really appreciate that you didn’t use the term “Obamacare” when making reference to the ACA. Thank you for calling us to civil discourse. Things are rarely as simple as we might like, but it is important that we not lose sight of the simple beauty of loving our neighbors. Good on you, sister!

  2. Posted by Sarah Riedmaier on October 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    It takes two to tango. If Congress was full of reasonable we would not be in this mess. Sadly, in my opinion, if the President suddenly agreed to do away with the Affordable Care Act the folks who are demanding just that would then demand universal healthcare. Their only purpose is to thwart the president no matter what.

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