Governing Not Dealing

08/05/2011 11:54 am ET | Updated Oct 05, 2011

I am not alone in being disgusted at the latest round of partisanship in Washington that descended like the creeping mist of a horror film as Congress and the President went back and forth over the budget. Now, we learn that a "deal" has been reached by the Congressional leaders and the White House that makes across-the-board cuts in military spending, education, transportation and Medicare payments to health care providers if Congress doesn't enact further deficit cuts by the end of the year.

A deal is not what good government should be about, especially when the most vulnerable in our society are one of the major pawns in making the deal work. This is not government at work, it is partisan bickering and ideological grandstanding dressed up in federal drag to convince us that our elected federal officials are hard at work. The White House tells us that the enforcement mechanism will protect Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs from any cuts. Unfortunately, I no longer believe these kinds of assurances from any federal officials, even ones I voted for in the last federal election.

I have long been mourning the loss of statesman/womanship in governing. What has emerged are politicians worried more about re-election and winning than governing, ideologues who listen only to the echoes of their own thoughts, and a steady exodus of elected officials who have tired of trying to encourage good government in the midst of such inane partisanship. None of this bodes well for us as a nation and the hopes we have as a republic.

Let's start looking for candidates who want to govern rather than win the debate (and conveniently forget that people's lives are at stake). Let's clear out those politicians who run on mean-spiritedness, us vs. them class codes that protect the wealthier and demonize the poorer. Let's do what is demanded of us in a genuine democracy: stop believing political spin and start educating ourselves about the issues of the day and the consequences of the legislation that is enacted in our names. Ultimately, we need to live into the demands of "we the people" and stop being spectators of what is going on in Washington and become the citizens we want to be.