Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 29, 2013

ED VASICEK: Immaturity in Washington

Immaturity in Washington just won't stop

Kokomo Tribune

---- — A woman received a note when she picked up her 3-year-old child from nursery school: “Your son is immature for his age.”

The mother sent a note with the boy the next week, “If you can’t be immature at 3, when can you be?”

In childhood, we remember the child who shouted, “I was safe at first! I’m taking my ball and bat and going home!” Most of us have learned to leave childish, immature behavior behind as we aged. Some, however, cherish their immaturity too much to discard it.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when to fight. It is even more difficult to be a good loser when the fight is lost. Who has not seen grown adults disgrace themselves with temper tantrums, insidious tactics or child-like spite? It is disheartening to see this same scenario in Washington, D.C. We see it all too frequently.

Remember when the Democrats stalled to prevent voting on George W. Bush’s judicial nominees in 2005? They knew that if a vote was taken, they could not block the appointments. I remember thinking how unethical and infantile such behavior was. We elect our legislators to act on our behalf, not stall. If a certain party or viewpoint loses, let them lose fair and square and move on.

That was when I first remember hearing about the “nuclear option.” Wikipedia defines the “nuclear option” as “a generic term for a set of hypothetical parliamentary maneuvers that could be used in the United States Senate to achieve approval of certain motions by a majority vote, rather than the ‘super-majority’ required by current Senate rules and precedents. The nuclear option has arisen in reaction to the frequent use of Senate rules by a minority of Senators to block consideration of a nominee for an Executive Branch or judicial position (or less frequently, a bill or resolution).”

Remember when the Democrats in Indianapolis left the state because they knew they would lose the vote if present? Child’s tricks, if you ask me. Immature. When are people going to grow up?

Some readers are old enough to remember when nominee Judge Bork was thrown into the meat grinder by a partisan Senate committee. On and on it goes.

How long has it been since our legislators followed the rules of fair play? Perhaps never, but the problem comes to light frequently in modern times.

Right now, the Republicans are the sore losers. The Democrats passed Obamacare fair and square. I do not like the bill, and I would support efforts to vote it down. But I do not advocate throwing away the rules of fair play just to get my way (I’m a poet and didn’t know it).

The Republicans cannot get enough votes to override a presidential veto in their attempt to negate Obamacare, so now they are mimicking what the Democrats did a few years back, a case of “monkey see, monkey do.” Neither party knows how to lose well, which is a sad commentary on the maturity level of our elected officials.

According to Reuters, “The CNBC poll reported that by a 59-19 percent margin, respondents opposed linking defunding of ‘Obamacare’ to a possible shutdown starting on October 1, or to a failure to raise the government’s borrowing authority, meaning Washington may not be able to pay all of its bills by sometime in October or early November.”

The tactic is clear, and America doesn’t like it: Defund Obamacare, or we will take our ball and bat and end the game.

I believe our elected officials are out for the best interest of our nation; I am not a cynic. But passionate feelings and burning concern for America’s future must be contained within the rules of fair play. America elected the Senate and House that passed Obamacare, and America elected President Obama not once, but twice.

Our elected officials need to accept that reality, to fight fair and learn to be good losers. Fighting fair does not mean justifying child-like behavior in the name of consistency (“they did it”). Mature people do not learn their behavior from the immature. The vicious circle needs to be broken.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com.