John Y. Brown, III: A Modest Proposal to Solve the Government Shutdown

There is an historic impasse between two groups of our nation’s leaders.

One group believes that the root cause of what is most wrong in their lives is the threat of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare as some prefer to call it).

The other group believes that the root cause of what is most distressing in their lives is… the Tea Party movement and its influence on the Republican Party.

This is, for both groups, far more than merely a work-related or ordinary civic cause. It is, for most in this debate, the defining question at the defining moment for each of them and everyone around them.

And each group is ridiculing the other for being ignorant and self-righteous and trying to ruin America. But the problem is that those doing the name calling don’t really know –or at least know well–what those they declaim are really like in their daily lives. They often only understand only a caricature or stereotype of their political rivals.

So, here is my modest proposal.

Since you have the week off and are presumably with family, please sit down with them and give each a single sheet of paper and a pen. Then ask each family member to write down the 5 things about you that in their opinion are causing the most trouble for you personally and for your family.

These are the people who know you best and have your best interest at heart–and theirs.

I doubt the “implementation of the ACA” or the “Tea Party movement” will make the cut on many of those lists. And I suspect you’ll be surprised by what does make the list.

jyb_musingsAnd now here is the immodest part of my proposal. If that is truly what occurs, will you show the same visceral disdain and devotion to ridding those things from your life that really are causing daily pain to you and your family and those around you–and do so with the same resolve and enthusiasm you show today when railing against either Obamacare or Tea Partiers?

If you answer yes, then I suspect you’ll all be back at work sooner than planned.

And if the rest of us who are deeply engaged and emotionally invested in this national healthcare stand-off would try a similar experiment at our home —and devotedly seek to resolve those items written on our lists, I suspect next week will be a lot less testy and a lot more pleasant for each one of us. And that is good for our health—and the political health of our nation.


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