As each of us watches the incredible dysfunction out of Washington these days and tries to make sense out of what is going on with the shutdown, we all have observations of what this all means. So here is my take on the top ten takeaways of the current environment and what the last two weeks have meant.
1. There are no winners in Washington today. We all love to pick winners and losers in nearly every facet of life, and I definitely have rooted for my hometown Detroit Tigers to win in the playoffs. But as each side points fingers at the other side over the shutdown and tries to lay fault and discuss who is losing, this is a game where everyone loses, and no one wins. President Obama isn't winning, Democrats aren't winning and Republicans aren't winning.
2. It is ironic to me that even during a government shutdown we can still, through our military, bring violence on potential terrorists, but we can't fund domestic violence programs, leaving many women and children at risk. Why do we think it is a better use of our limited resources to bring terrorists to justice around the world, but not to provide safe places and a sense of justice for victims of abuse at home?
3. As a country, is it better to keep military bases open that are involved in the horror of war, or to keep national parks open that allow average Americans to see the beauty of nature? In this world today where folks are anxious, alone and seeking peace in their lives, what do we think they need most -- the divinity of nature or demonstrations of power?
4. Both political parties are now at an all-time low in the eyes of the American public. This shutdown has served as another reminder of how out of sync both parties are with majority of the country. There has been a lack of leadership shown by all sides. And most Americans see both sides playing partisan politics on a regular basis rather than doing what's good for the country.
5. The GOP is a party that looks demographically like a party of the past, and with little future solutions that inspire America. And the Democrats look demographically like a party of the future, but with solutions based too much in the past. We need a party that both looks like America today and tomorrow, and with policies, solutions and a governmental structure designed for the future. We are not getting that from either party.
6. Today in our country there seems to be an abundance of knowledge and a terrible lack of wisdom. We have more access to information than ever before in the history of the world, but we lack the leaders who can give us a sense of it all and wisely tell us what it all means. Information today is used as a tool to achieve party ends, and not as clearer path to the truth and to a better way to live.
7. Our leaders in Washington today would rather be right than at peace and happy. They would rather fight over their viewpoints than find common ground where everyone wins. In every healthy relationship there come moments when you have to decide would you rather be right than happy, and the successful ones choose happiness in those moments. Our leaders need to let go of their egos and the demands of being right, and seek a higher calling.
8. Leadership of the future is going to come more and more from outside Washington. Folks in communities around the country are finding solutions and building consensus in their neighborhoods. And as each day goes forward with DC in dysfunction, the federal government is going to become more and more irrelevant in their lives. And the leaders of tomorrow are going emerge from towns and cities out in America where with limited time and resources they are getting the job done. We won't need term limits because folks are just going to tune out leaders in DC more and more.
9. Obamacare is the law, approved by the voters through elections thus far, and confirmed by the Supreme Court, and it is time for Republican leaders to fold their tent and to tell their constituents that in a direct way. While I may disagree with much of the policy, it is the law. In a democracy, if you don't have the votes to actually change the law, opposition leaders have the obligation and duty to tell the voters to honor the legislative process. We are a country that is supposed to fight the fight in the legislative process, and then unify when all is said and done. That is actually the basis of being a constitutional democracy.
10. And finally, in typical Washington fashion, they can't even do a shutdown well and get a majority of Americans to feel affected by it. While considering the shutdown a huge problem and disapproving of this lack of leadership, more than 80 percent of citizens do not feel personally effected by the shutdown. The government is shut down but DC is so bad at getting things done, only a minority of Americans feel impacted by it. If it wasn't so ludicrous and tragic, it would be laughable.
Now you have my take, what are your takeaways?
There you have it.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent.
Opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of ABC News.