Zachary Antoyan is a political science junior and Mustang Daily liberal columnist.
The other day, my roommate referred to editorial pieces as, “bitch and moan” columns. In all honesty, I can’t refute that, so in the spirit of complaining I’m gonna talk about this awesome thing called stagnation. Stagnation is a magical event that happens when nobody wants to work together, and everybody thinks that everyone but themselves is wrong.
The phenomenon of stagnation is known to occur in multiple places in government, school group projects and bands called Linkin Park.
In the aptly named book (bear with me here), “It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,” authors Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein explain how … no wait, nevermind, they just blame Republicans for stagnation: “Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
All right, so those are some pretty strong accusations, and the subsequent 240 pages are spent proving them through the authors’ 40 years of combined studying of Washington. Does that justify their assertions? All I see is finger pointing. We know stagnation is pervasive, but frankly, I don’t care who did it, I just want it gone.
For some reason, we cannot seem to face what is possibly the most prominent problem in our political system today: getting things done.
It appears that our issue with balancing a budget and the debt ceiling has come down to being like the moldy bread in the cupboard — nobody wants to deal with it for fear it turns all the food in the cupboard against you in a glorious sustenance revolution (or maybe that was the Tea Party).
A deal recently passed in both houses of Congress extends its time to decide how to deal with the debt ceiling. What I’m getting out of this is: “Hey guys, we’ve got this problem, but let’s just decide not to worry about it for a small amount of time and hopefully everything will fix itself. All right, go team!” Here, we see the stagnation perpetuated by both sides.
Do you remember the fiscal cliff ordeal? There was a clear deadline, and we aimlessly went past it. Even though we missed it by only a few hours, the fact that we weren’t able to come to a deal on time only serves to highlight the terrible pace of politics in Washington. What eventually did end up being completed only dealt with minor aspects of the budget, and put the larger of it, such as higher income taxes and defense spending, on hold until a later date. I’m no doctor, but even I know a Band-Aid isn’t going to help a bullet wound.
When we close our minds off to the opposite side or actively attempt to sabotage the political process (cough, cough filibuster), we look like a bunch of idiots. We are so proud of our democracy and yet it seems impossible to deal with the issues that come with it.
It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the stigma of a party or to never bend from an ideology, and I see more and more people in power taking this route. Trying to run a country isn’t easy, and neither is compromising with people you think are wrong. Yet here we are; we’ve been here for a while. Remember, in the words of Kid President, “If life is a game, aren’t we all on the same team? I mean, really, right? I’m on your team, and you’re on my team.”
Damn, Kid President, you may be too young to hold the real office, but one day … you’ve got my vote.
This is Zachary Antoyan, wishing he had a ticket to the Cold War Kids concert. Have a great week.