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.