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A Pope Versus a Budget

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

What’s the matter with the US Congress? And the US President? In less than two full days, the globally diverse Catholic church has risen to the task before them and chosen a new pope.  That pope will be around for a fairly long time. He will set policy and be the boss for every Catholic on earth. He’s not to everyone’s liking–no one is.  Still, the Cardinals chose and got the job done.

I’m not a practicing Catholic and am not even inclined to tout them as particularly blessed in terms of skill at building a consensus.  But it does give you pause, doesn’t it?  The US Congress–and the current Administration– have yet to come up with a budget for this country.  Not just for this year.  Not ever.  For some reason, all of the people who are responsible for getting it done think the childhood strategy of pointing the finger at someone else is enough to explain their own failure to get this crucial task accomplished.

Who said they could quit because it was hard work?  Who gave them the okay to go home and relax when what they need to do most is still in the starting blocks?

Why is it acceptable to fail at this? To ignore this? To act like it’s not them that have to get it done?  It’s heartbreaking to witness the cowardice of what’s going on.  Instead of rising to the task–like congressmen and women have done since this country began–they’re paralyzed with fear about the reactions that might come from the constituencies they represent.  Instead of assuming the leadership role they were elected to, they take rigid stands like stubborn three-year olds and refuse to get on with finding the solution.

Yes, it’s a lot harder to get the job done in the Senate and the House than in the Sistine Chapel–you have the media blowing everything out of proportion and sensationalizing every little nuance day after day.  But there is no constitutional waiver for not doing the job because it’s hard work.

Yes, the work involves hard choices and will dissatisfy some who voted for you.  Do you think every single person was on board with any of the hard things that this country has had to decide over the decades and centuries?  This is not about who voted for you.  This is about coming up with a workable plan for how this huge and successful country is going to make and spend its government dollars–so we can stay successful.

It took the Catholic Cardinals–who are part of an organization that’s struggling with scandles and major differences of opinion just as we are–two days to get their job done.  That is not because it was easy.  It was because they accepted it was theirs to do and did it.

Take a lesson, Congress.  Take a lesson, Mr. President.  Get this job done!  Come up with a budget.