The fiscal cliff has the potential to stop the growing economy and possibly send the country back into a recession. In Washington, there is a war over how to handle this problem. How about looking through the eyes of a physicist?
This is no time for a newly-reelected Democratic President to compromise with Republican politicians of a ultra-conservative hue, many of whom (including Mitch McConnell, again) have a personal political interest in continued economic stagnation through the Obama second term.
We are not delusional or naive enough to expect that getting to maybe will be an easy task. We recognize that over the past few years, compromise in Congress has become an oxymoron and bipartisanship a dirty word.
I'm here to call on my fellow bi people to step up and set good examples of openness, compassion, and tolerance. Ask folks with whom you disagree to have coffee with you; have guided discussions; have face-to-face, low-key chats; get to know your enemy, frenemy, or others.
We both know is that in every long-term relationship, once in awhile you need to let off steam. We save up the small injustices along the way and four times a year unleash them. The stated reason for the quarrel has nothing to do with what's really going on.
If maturity and compromise are essential to a democracy as we were taught in school, then as the old Chinese Proverb has it, "If we don't change our direction we're likely to end up where we're headed."
Maybe the only real solution to all of this is for the public to take the 2012 elections very, very seriously, and send a more definable mandate to the politicians on the decisions they are entrusted to make.
In any conflict, the 1st Alternative is my way, and the 2nd Alternative is your way. The usual outcomes are either a war or a compromise. Compromise stops the fight -- but without breaking through to amazing new results. A 3rd Alternative is that kind of breakthrough.
Democracy is a rare and precious flower and it has allowed more progress for more people than any other system ever invented. But it is fragile. You can't yell too much. You can't demonize those who disagree with you.
The Tea Party displays the power of a sizable extremist faction to reject bipartisanship and impose its demands at any cost, in this case jeopardizing the nation's credit rating and overall economy, with ominous future implications.