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Stephanie Michele Headshot

Marital Walkout - How to End the U.S. Government Shutdown

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2013-10-07-potatoewalkouturbanfoodartinstallationsbypeterpink7600x400.jpg

As the U.S. government's showdown progresses, I am having a really hard time empathizes with either party especially when both are using communication tactics similar to what a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum would use. It is all about me, me, me. It is hard to see the trees representing what is best for the America public through the forest of personal agendas.

It is comical how polls, data and surveys seem to always magically align with speakers who use them to make their personal points. Have you ever heard a politician say something like this?: "The data surprised us and caused us to think and act differently." I haven't. The lack of ability and willingness to sort for differences and similarity prevents collaboration, compromise and innovative progress.

The problem is the insistence of one side being right over the other. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. Yet any great leader will tell you, it does not work that way. Progress and growth are a result of co-created relational practices. Conflict is a byproduct of transactional thinking.

Relational in terms of: acting in a way that supports the long term advancement of the relationship where the focus is on trust, transparency, sincerity and authenticity. Where there is a higher level of trust between people the faster an agreeable solution can be implemented. Transactional in terms of: Emphasis on tactics as a means to win, "what's in for me" attitude and in the moment thinking without concern over future collateral damage. I don't care to predict when the shutdown will end or how; however, I do have an idea I would like to see get implemented to help end it. This a plea to the spouses of the congressmen and women: How about implementing a marital shutdown? All that is required to get started is for you to walk out on your spouse. When your husband/wife asks you what is going on, use the following tactics being used by U.S. government leadership currently:
  1. Focus on blame.
  2. Just Say NO! No deal. No vote. No compromise. No conversation. (No dinner, no sex, no childcare....)
  3. Talk about talking without actually talking about the issues or full-blown silent treatment is also recommended.
  4. When you do have to talk, use obsessive and exaggerated name calling and labeling as often as you can. If you can work name calling and negative labeling into your preplanned talking points, even better.
  5. Root for failure. Whatever your spouse considers his/her best work and has worked the hardest on, poo-poo it!

Sounds ridiculous? If a marriage could not withstand this kind of behavior why is it tolerated in the men and women we voted into office to serve the best interest of our country?

PHOTO CREDIT: "Potato Walkout" by artist Peter Pink