Freeing Sisyphus: Debt Ceiling, Fear, Recession and Ridiculousness
I don’t know about you, but I am p*ssed off. What is going on Washington Is absolutely ridiculous. 14 million Americans are looking for jobs while the people who spent millions of our dollars and the dollars of others to get elected participate in gamesmanship and posturing which threaten our already unstable economy. Why aren’t we all in Washington this weekend telling them to get their crap together?
Freeing Sisyphus posts are usually about finding balance in our hectic lives and liberating ourselves from the kind of behavior that got us into this mess: sitting in rush hour traffic, inching our way to jobs each day that steal our spirit, all in the hopes of participating in the so called American dream. It’s hard to think about my own balance when Congress can’t even balance our budget. As much as I may complain about having to live this way I feel lucky to have a job. There are people in my own family who don’t have enough money to buy groceries, gas, afford health care, much less save to send their kids to college, etc.
Last week many of my co-workers got laid off – friends I have worked with for over five years. Although we work in Finance and their job prospects are better than some, the uncertainty and fear they now face is stressful. In the past five years, I have known several people who have foreclosed on their homes, lost their jobs, or know that the supposed safe investment they made in their homes is now sitting at negative equity (meaning they owe way more than the home is worth). They feel stuck and are living in a state of constant fear. Can I get a job with a bad credit rating? How will I pay my bills next month?
This fear that drives so much of what we do is the fear that drove Sisyphus – trying to ensure his own position of power, protecting himself and his material items. Most of the stalemate in Washington is pure politics and posturing and the fear of the politicians about having to face the debt ceiling issue again before the 2012 elections. Their actions are being driven by their own Sisyphean fear of losing their positions of influence.
How do we free ourselves of this fear and the stress that goes with it? Honestly I don’t know. I know there is not one answer. What I’ve learned in my life is that usually it is the small actions that really create radical change – the one person who decides to take an action – albeit small – for the first time. Rosa Parks comes to mind. Although her action was part of a larger movement, we all know there is one thing we could do differently today to fight the fear.
We are living in a society where the gulf between the haves and the have nots continues to grow, yet I believe we are all being driven by a strain of the same fear. Closing yourself to compromise is never healthy, stubbornness in the face of crisis, your way or the highway behavior is counterproductive, and I promise it will mean a feeling of hopelessness and exhaustion as you continue to roll that bolder up the hill over and over again, no matter how much you have or do not have in the bank, pay for or don’t pay for taxes, like or dislike social support programs, or vacations you get or don’t get to take – you will always be trapped.
Based on our responsibilities we cannot all get on a bus to Washington, although I wish we could. So what action can you take today to force our leaders to contend with a recession that is killing the spirit of the American people, traumatizing them as they are unable to find work or fill their refrigerators? Having worked for a politician I know what they fear most – your disapproval. So, I’m going to do something I have never done before and email a member of Congress from each party to tell them to quit being so damn stubborn and get their sh*t together and compromise. I’m tired of them playing with my life and the lives of my family.
You can find the name of your senators (top right corner – says Find your senator) at this site: http://www.senate.gov/; or members of the House of Representatives here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
We don’t have to write anything elaborate, lengthy or particularly insightful. In fact, I think I will simply say – It’s time to compromise. 4 words, but it will be a directive, and they will know we are tired of these games.