President Obama stated this afternoon that he would consider negotiating with the Republicans over health care and other polarizing issues in order to end the government shutdown. He called for Congress to pass temporary funding for the government while apologizing to the American people about the current partisan bickering. And shockingly, much of what the President said made complete sense.
Even though I am a high school student with a minimal understanding of the Washington conflict, I found the President's message extremely reassuring, at least in the sense that whatever had gone wrong is finally being addressed. From this Electronic Urban Report article -
“What I’ve said is that I will talk about anything,” he [Obama] said, after declaring in his opening statement, “We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy.”
The president also explained the situation through analogy -
“Think about it this way: The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox.”
It's intriguing that Obama can relate to Americans - even those who have little or no knowledge of government and policy - so strongly through simple explanations and a slight bit of remorse. In last week's Watterson's Guide, we commented on how politicians seemed to view the government shutdown not as a shameful sign of political inefficiency but as a fundraising opportunity. It's really no wonder that Americans show such little interest and trust in the political process.
Perhaps Obama's comments today have reassured many people who feel disillusioned with partisan politics, while gaining him support as a leader who is actually concerned about the shutdown's implications for the future of American democracy.