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Letter: Governance Takes Work

To the Editor:

In the Gazette’s Oct. 24 issue, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly stated some meaningful truths. Congressman Connolly described the recent scene on Capitol Hill as “shameful and dangerous, but sadly, not unprecedented.” I believe this observation indicates to most Virginians that the congressman comprehends perfectly the situation on Capitol Hill. Yes — I believe most Virginians — most Americans — would be hard pressed to come up with better/more precise phrase to describe Capitol Hill. Yep — “Shameful and Dangerous” is a perfect a way to sum up Capitol Hill. (Note: Capitol Hill being the sum of those elected by their states to serve in the Senate and House of Representatives.)

In the article Rep. Connolly goes on to list some examples he selected that showcased the result of the “Shameful and Dangerous” results of Capitol Hill. His examples included: 1) the shutdown of the government (Note: The government did not shut down. It did operate at a reduced level.), 2) a worried 12-year-old boy, 3) federal contractors that were either laid off or caused to use vacation time (Note: I had to use my vacation time.), 4) a stressed home owner, 5) an “inference” that chambers of commerce and other business leaders experienced negative business effects, 6) an “estimated”’ cost to Virginia of $200 million a day (Note: Next time Rep. Connolly, please cite your source of such data.), and, 7) the very real threat of default jeopardizing the world standing of the U.S.

Weaved throughout these examples, Rep Connolly offered that the “Shameful and Dangerous” result of Capitol Hill was caused by — ready for this? — the Republicans. Who would’ve guessed?

How about this: The “Shameful and Dangerous scene on Capitol Hill is the result of the laziness that party politics creates. I say laziness because it takes work to get things done. As it is with any institution that consists of more than one person — disagreements will come. It is when disagreements come that work begins and must be done to advance the cause of the institution. The work that must be done is “compromise.” Collaboration is a win-win situation, which one can conclude doesn’t take much work. Much of the time collaboration — where those in disagreement get all that they want — cannot be attain. Compromise is a lose-lose endeavor where those in disagreements lose some of what they want. Compromise takes work.

A question — not ‘the’ question — but ‘a’ question to consider is this: Had Capitol Hill compromised (worked) to give the nation, over the last few years, budgets as the law requires, would examples one-through-seven (see above) have evolved?

In his next to last paragraph Rep. Connolly expresses a hope that his “colleagues will learn from their past mistakes.” I hope so too, but since ‘they’ haven’t and Rep. Connolly infers that he and his party has …ahmmm... I will continue to hope right along with the congressman.

Rep. Connolly does offer a fix and an observation in his closing paragraph. He writes, “we must stop playing politics” — “America deserves better.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Nick A. Sottler

Alexandria