The last thing I do each morning before I leave the house is tell my wife I love her. I say it despite the fact she will soon be leaving to greet me again at the office we share with our other employees.
It’s probably a little bit overboard, but when I express my love to her, I also tell the family pet dog Sox I love her too. To which Debbie responds in her cutest puppy voice, “I love you too Papa”.
And this might be an embarrassment to our two sons, but I don’t think so. Almost every conversation Debbie and I have with them, whether in person, by phone, text or whatever, ends with the words “I love you”.
What makes it all feel so good is that we truly mean it.
There probably aren’t many people in Washington D.C. sharing those sentiments, or anything remotely similar, with each other these days. And that’s wrong.
I’m not saying they have to love each other, and I’m certainly not saying the debates on Capitol Hill need to turn into love fests. But showing a little bit of respect for each other, expressing it and really meaning it might not hurt when the fate of the country is in their hands.
Sure, they all use polite and politically correct decorum when addressing each other: “The good senator from…”, or “The gentleman from…”, ad nausea.
But they don’t really mean it. If they did you’d think they would be able to sit down and work out their differences. Make compromises when compromise is necessary.
Immediately after the partial federal shutdown ended, and the looming default was postponed again for another few months, all of the talk centered around who were the big winners and who were the big losers in the whole debacle.
My personal belief is that there were no winners. The President, the Democrats and the Republicans all took a big cream pie to the face. And their audience wasn’t laughing after the clowns delivered the blows to their kissers.
But there were plenty of big losers, the biggest being the American taxpaying public which had no control over a Congress gone bonkers. It didn’t exactly do our country’s reputation much good either, with most of the rest of the world looking at us like we were a kindergarten class on steroids.
This brings me back to my original statement about my admission of love to my wife and sons. In the small microcosm we call a family, when a fight or argument erupts, if it isn’t settled amicably for both sides, there are no winners. Someone might think they won that little battle in the family feud, but not really. One battle won could lead to a larger battle down the road where there will be no winners.
But when love and respect are shown, and expressed truly, in our little family battles, a compromise is much easier to achieve. And both sides win.
Perhaps this country’s leaders could learn a lesson from that. If they expressed true respect and appreciation for the opposition’s position, then maybe their battles wouldn’t have to turn into wars.
And then we could all be winners.