Colorado’s own Senator Mark Udall helped spearhead a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate on Thursday to solve the delays caused by FAA furloughs this week. Some travelers in certain cities were seeing significant delays due air traffic controllers going on mandated furlough days, issued by the Federal Aviation Association in response to the sequestration cuts.
First things first, Sen. Udall and his colleagues that made this solution happen so quickly should be commended for drafting the bill that will allow the FAA to use previously unspent funds to reduce the need for furloughs. Eliminating these delays should help travelers and airlines alike.
However, we must eventually get to the next important point. Why was a solution to this particular part of the sequestration puzzle so easy to come across after just a few days of flight delays?
While I understand that the FAA had the distinct advantage of having unspent funds to use and only needed Congressional support to find the flexibility to use the funds, it still doesn’t explain why this solution was only discovered after countless hours were lost by American travelers.
The Reducing Flight Delays Act seems to be the latest evidence that our esteemed lawmakers in Washington only respond with innovative, bipartisan ideas when the proverbial stuff hits the proverbial fan. Then, and only then, are government leaders really pushed to arrive at ways to solve the problem.
As nice as it is to see the planes run on time, it is tough to see yet another reminder that our government does its best work only when there is a great deal of pain felt by various squeaky wheels.
If we are to follow the logic, if you can really call it that, we can be optimistic about future major problems being solved with bipartisan ingenuity. Or we can be pessimistic that those solutions will only come after real pain is felt, and likely not one minute sooner.
This shouldn’t come as a major shock to anybody since our government has treated much higher profile crises the exact same way. So treating the smaller problems really should follow the same path.
But answering the question of why it must be this way is probably harder to accept.
The reality is that as voters, we have pushed our government into a hyper partisan posture. We may like to think it’s the other way around, but since they rely on our votes, they respond to us, whether we want to admit it or not.
If we push our elected leaders to think party first, essentially based on the idea that someone from the other party only wants to do terrible things to our society, why should they be expected to work together until it is absolutely necessary?
If you doubt my logic here, take this short test. When you hear about a problem in government, do you blame everyone involved, or do you believe in your heart of hearts that one party is really to blame?
If you blame everyone, you are an independent thinker, and likely an unaffiliated voter. However, if you answered that you are convinced this is what President Obama and the Democrats or what the Republicans wanted all along, or caused purposefully, you are part of the reason why our government only comes together when they have to.
If the opposing party cannot make a decision that can lead to anything positive, then what’s the motivation for your party to work with them? If they have no motivation to work across the aisle, how can anything get done before it’s essentially a dire emergency?
Until we find a way to support not only our own political party, but also the idea that members of the opposing party are not bastions of evil, we will see more of the same.
The decision is ours.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.