Bickering and partisan politics have replaced any last vestiges of sanity or productivity in Washington.
Unless congressional leaders reached a miracle settlement late last night, the federal government will shut down today, halted by contention regarding spending cuts, environmental protection and abortion, ultimately leading to the furlough of an estimated 800,000 federal employees.
Despite inevitable ideological disputes between Democrats and Republicans, it would be difficult for any reasonable person to argue that a shutdown is in anyoneâ€™s best interest, particularly in the midst of three wars, a recession and a record-setting spending deficit.
We have other problems that need to be solved, problems far bigger than the federal budget, and if our leaders canâ€™t even agree on that then weâ€™re in big trouble.
Itâ€™s time for Congress to quit bickering and start problem solving, to start reaching compromises instead of entrenching itself in a world drawn solely by party lines.
Itâ€™s time for Congress to stop hiding behind rigid ideology and to start actually representing the will of the people who elected them.
And it wouldnâ€™t be too big of a stretch to assume that most of the people who voted for them would like to have a federal government.
And it also may be right to assume that the 800,000 federal employees who will find themselves out of work, in the middle of a recession that Congress is still trying to grapple with, would like to keep working.
And though it would seem reasonable to assume that Congress would like to start passing legislation that doesnâ€™t relate to a federal budget, this doesnâ€™t quite seem to be the case.
So Congress, our challenge is to grow up, quit bickering and make some difficult decisions.
Itâ€™s the only reasonable thing to do.