After all the political grief, anxiety and catastrophes I’ve encountered during my life and journalism career, I should be a totally jaded pessimist.
Somehow I’ve remained an optimist, usually because common sense and decency prevailed when it counted.
The Vietnam War was stopped and Nixon didn’t get away with trying to bend the Constitution. Nuclear war was available but never delivered.
The Soviet Union’s denial of personal growth made it fall apart. Chinese people are gaining more independence and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them end up with something close to democracy.
All during those uproars, the U.S. Congress was chugging along, compromising for the most part so that stability was maintained. Politics were rampant, of course, but deals were made and business was handled.
For all the bad ratings for Congress now, there were many years prior when the body represented sanity, strength and the bipartisan expansion of the country. Through Congress, the states were indeed united.
That changed about five years ago when the Tea Party took hold and everyone dug in their heels and you know what happened.
So when the U.S. Congress finally put down their swords and compromised on a budget last week, I took the optimistic view once again.
I don’t look at it as a failure for the Democrats or the Republicans. I look at it as the first step out of the quagmire.
Most important, the compromise is just what American business has been looking for.
For the past five years, I’ve repeatedly heard business people say they can’t make plans and are afraid to expand or hire new people because they didn’t know what Congress was going to do budget-wise.
Some of them were linked to government contracts and had that tangible connection but others said it was very much psychological. When the Congress can’t get its act together, people get nervous and hold on to their cash.
Call my Pollyana, but I expect corporations will now start slowly reinvesting the billions they are sitting on to create jobs.
They will probably go slowly because they fear Congress will again start drawing lines in the sand to get re-elected and not for principles.
They also know that the new budget deal is modest, but represents hope for more compromise on Capitol Hill.
Given what I’ve seen, I won’t be surprised if Congress goes right back to its recent patterns. But at least the budget compromise represents a return to normalcy.
In the end, I prefer hope over pessimism.