It seemed so easy at first. "Do it our way or we shut down the mean old government, no one will miss it anyway.""But wait," the people exclaimed. That means the Capitol Police won't be paid, and the national monuments and national parks will be shut down, hundreds of thousands of people will be without jobs, and a defunded Women, Infants and Children program, and ditto the CDC and the NIH, and no more FDA to check for E Coli in our food and well, suddenly the Republicans started passing little partial funding bills to help get the country past the truly icky stuff that no one had really thought too much about.
And then the tune became, let us fund everything but Obamacare, aren't we being reasonable? Why do those mean old Democrats have to be so unreasonable? Why do they have to make our little shutdown so miserable for Americans?
Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist who is very good and who I occasionally agree with, has a pretty good column today, A Monumental Mistake. After she castigates Obama, I think unfairly, for the Veteran's Monument fiasco, she closes with this:
Nearly any but the die-hardest tea party member regrets the shuttering of the U.S. government. It was unnecessary, counterproductive and punishes all the wrong people — including federal employees, who do yeoman’s work for which they receive little credit.For some reason this made me think of something I once read in the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, the I ching, which has an interesting hexagram that I would like to share with you.
Tying the defunding of Obamacare to the shutdown was folly, which sensible House Republicans knew even as they ignored their better judgment. Even so, the White House and Democrats seem determined to prove their own toughness by punishing the least deserving.
As we approach the next battle, over the debt ceiling, would that all of Washington remember the rule of the savvy negotiator: Always leave your opponent an exit.
The eighth hexagram is titled pi, translated in english as holding together, or union. Water above the earth. The fifth changing line has a message that might dovetail with the rule of the savvy negotiator. Give your quarry an opportunity to exit.
Nine in the fifth place means:
Manifestation of holding together.
In the hunt the king uses beaters on three sides only
And forgoes game that runs off in front.
The citizens need no warning.
In the royal hunts of ancient China it was customary to drive up the game
from three sides, but on the fourth the animals had a chance to run off. If
they failed to do this they had to pass through a gate behind which the king
stood ready to shoot. Only animals that entered here were shot; those that
ran off in front were permitted to escape. This custom accorded with a kingly
attitude; the royal hunter did not wish to turn the chase into a slaughter, but
held that the kill should consist only of those animals which had so to speak
voluntarily exposed themselves.
There is depicted here a ruler, or influential man, to whom people are
attracted. Those who come to him he accepts, those who do not come are
allowed to go their own way. He invited none, flatters none—all come of
their own free will. In this way there develops a voluntary dependence
among those who hold him. They do not have to be constantly on their
guard but may express their opinions openly. Police measures are not
necessary, and they cleave to their ruler of their own volition. The same
principle of freedom is valid for life in general. We should not woo favor
from people. If a man cultivates within himself the purity and the strength
that are necessary for one who is the center of a fellowship, those who are
meant for him come of their own accord.
The image commentary for pi might also provide good advice for a leader or ruler of men.
On the earth is water:
The image of Holding Together.
Thus the kings of antiquity
Bestowed the different states as fiefs
And cultivated friendly relations
With the feudal lords.