Go Big or Go Home

Many Key Decisions are Coming due NOW at the Same Time.
The Results Will Shape America Beyond Our Imagination


What a Calendar We Have Over the Next Few Weeks

We all know of periods in history wherein big decisions came due, and consequences followed. But I personally cannot remember a time when so many were coming up in so short a time. This is not the complete list, but the big items at least. They come in three categories:

Legally and Legislatively Mandated for the Next Few Weeks

  • Funding Government Operations
  • Extending the National Debt Ceiling
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
  • The Advanced Infrastructure Bill

Immeasurably important to the Kind of Country We Would Be

  • Voting Access and Rights Legislation
  • National Police Reform (likely already dead, thanks to Senate Republicans)

 Defining Issues

  • Investigation and Legislation on the January 6 Insurrection
  • Filibuster Reform
What is at Stake

Essentially, everything. Failure on any number of these issues will define the Biden administration, including whether the midterms will effectively end that administration or fuel it. Could go either way – we are in unchartered territory in so many ways.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how the Democrats play this out when the crunch comes. Biden has tried to make his party understand this is the time to Go Big, for several reasons, all of them valid. If the party lacks the will and the unity to do so, they will die of self-inflicted wounds and the country will pay the price.

The Republicans have already made their choices. McConnell and friends seem more than ready to do untold damage to the country and the world, all to try making Biden look bad so they can gain in the midterms. Political hardball is understood as reality, but this is a craven bunch that goes way beyond that. They bring shame to our institutions and put our future at great risk. I am amazed daily at how far this once proud party has fallen into the gutter.

About That Go Big or Go Home Title

I chose that title, and that image for a couple of reasons. One, it is the choice Biden has laid out and it bears highlighting.

But the second reason is even more important to me personally. I, for one, am tired of America thinking small. It makes me angry beyond expression. We have become a nation of “can’t do, can’t afford,” and those mind sets stink. Truly great nations think big, invest accordingly, and stay in for the long haul.

I see other countries and coalitions answering that call regularly. Look at the infrastructure investments in places like China and South Korea. Look at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe.

We did not write the Constitution, build the transcontinental railroad, win WWII, build the Civilian Conservation Corps, create the Interstate Highway System, go to the Moon, or any of our other benchmarks by thinking small.

We did not say “We cannot afford this.” We said “This we will do. Let’s figure out how to do it and how to pay for it but do it we shall.” That is the America I believe in and that I miss sorely. This feels like our last chance to recapture that spirit and to save our country from Terminal Mediocrity.

Fingers Crossed for the Days Ahead

This is a time for “moderates” to step up and think out of the box. It’s also time for “progressives” to be realistic. Statements like Sanders “We think it should be $6 trillion” are not helpful and remind us why he lost the nomination.

Good politics in a healthy, pluralistic democracy is finding the right commitment to principles and the right measure of compromise to avoid defeat or shutting out those who belong at the table as well. A measure of trust and humility is in order.

We are about to find out if the Democrats can find that path and help save our country from a bleak, stunted future. Can they think big enough to catch up on years of infrastructure neglect AND take better care of our citizens?

Having a couple of old hands like Biden and Pelosi at the helm might be just what is needed. We will see. Oh, and a footnote – I hope the media is up to covering all this with the perspectives it deserves. I am not optimistic, but ever hopeful.

The next six weeks or so will likely determine the next 60 years or so.

           Bill Clontz

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