Congress is painting the living room

Two-and-a-half years ago, our choice was to hand over the greatest country in the history of mankind, the largest military on the planet, and the position of the most powerful job in the world to an impulsive real estate developer with a temper or to a former senator and secretary of state with a lengthy resume and a short list of accomplishments.

Well, we chose the real estate developer with a temper and an overused Twitter account, and the national media hasn’t let us forget about it for a moment. It seems it is Trump 24-7 on all the national media outlets, when the real focus should be on Congress. Trump, according to Gallup, has a 40% approval rating, the lowest at this point in a presidential term since Jimmy Carter, who had a 35% rating.

Congress, on the other hand, where the real work of the nation should be taking place, has only a 20% approval rating, according to Gallup.

The people have been fed up with Congress for a long time, which is why we keep flipping around who has the power.

The Democrats told us to give them control of both the House and the Senate and they would solve the nation’s problems. We did, they didn’t. The Republicans told us to give them control of both the House and the Senate and they would solve the nation’s problems. We did, they didn’t.

How did we get to this point without Washington noticing it? Well, it is because they live in a “Beltway Bubble” that is much more focused on partisan power than people’s problems, and it has been going on, with very few exceptions, for decades.

There was a brief moment in the 90s when Bill Clinton worked with both houses to balance the budget and overhaul the welfare system. There was a brief moment in 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, when the country came together and the sense of patriotism was strong.

There are others, I am sure, but the rest of Washington’s time under the “bubble” is spent pointing fingers and playing cloakroom games with laser-like focus on the next election, instead of the tasks at hand. Someone wrote something on social media that perfectly describes Congress: “They are like a couple arguing about what color to paint the living room while their house in on fire!”

How good is that?! It is perfect!

And what I perceive to be the saddest part of all this is that Washington still has no idea what is happening. They simply are unable to crack open their ego and let a little reality drip in. By reality, I mean little things to them but things that have enormous impact on the American people, like $22-trillion-and-growing debt, like border control, like shoring up Social Security once and for all, like crippling high health care and medication costs, and like crumbling national infrastructure.

Where are the adults in Washington? Adults like my father, who used to say, “Son, I would like one, too, but we can’t afford it.” Where are the leaders who have the courage to tell us that? We can’t come close to affording the government we have now, yet we continue to give billions away to other countries trying to buy friends around the world.

How long have we heard we need to reign in waste, fraud and abuse? How long have we heard over-regulation is hurting the economy? How long have we heard American corporations have too much clout in D.C.? How long have we heard Social Security and Medicare are going broke? And how long have we heard that Washington itself is broken?

Congress’s job performance is a complete failure. If they had that kind of job performance in the private sector, they would all be fired.

The time is overdue for Congress to start working on what is right or wrong instead of right or left. And it is definitely time to stop talking about painting their living room red or blue, because, as they refuse to accept, their house is on fire.

Agree or disagree with me? Let me know at gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.