In the early 1960s, there was an iconic TV commercial for the long-defunct National Airlines (which merged into Pan American in 1980) with the tagline, spoken by the pert blonde stewardess, “Is this any way to run an airline? You bet it is!”
Soon enough, that tagline took on an ironic twist in popular culture. Whenever something went wrong in the government or in private industry, the question would be raised, “Is this any way to run a (fill in the blank)?” “You bet it ISN’T,” would be the unnecessary response.
Sure enough, with the dysfunction that is painfully on display in Washington, D.C., these days, that TV ad has come to mind and we find ourselves asking: “Is this any way to run a government?”
Although we support 100 percent all of the goals being sought by the Democrats — DACA (for the children of immigrants who came here when they were very young and who now are a part of the fabric of our society), CHIPS (the health insurance program for children), and additional disaster aid for Puerto Rico — we cannot say that we necessarily agree that shutting down the U.S. government was the way to get there.
The Democrats argue that their shutdown is only fair, inasmuch as the Republicans have done it twice in the past, most recently in 2013.
However, two wrongs do not make a right.
Yes, it has been frustrating to watch the Republicans abuse their power these past few years. But if Democrats do not assume the mantle of the proverbial adults in the room, our government has no floor to support it — only an abyss that appears to be bottomless.
The partisan wrangling, now fully joined by the Democrats, essentially makes us no better than a banana republic.