The inability of Congress to strike a deal and prevent the government shutdown should signal the shifting of priorities in American society today, but maybe some citizens are still not convinced. Some may have even preferred the government shutdown, hoping that it would frighten the public enough to motivate their elected representatives to handle the situation in Washington.

Recent events, however, have proven that our current leaders in Washington are incapable of prioritizing: they cannot agree on what needs to be done to save our economy. Should we raise the debt ceiling or not? Should we cut spending or not, and if so, in what areas? While the answers to those questions seem rather obvious to me, and probably to the fiscal conservatives reading this as well, the debate drags on. Our nation’s leaders have so drastically altered their priorities for the nation that their personal reputation now holds more importance than the success of the economy, and thus, the country.

Where are their priorities, then?

President Obama, for one, seems to still be in campaign mode, still attempting to convince the public that this is not his fault. President Obama appeared in Maryland at a construction company this past week and blamed the financial crisis on the “reckless Republican shutdown”, according to The Washington Times. He continued: “The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work…is that Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party”, concluding “That’s what this whole thing is about”. Since there is no legal possibility for Barack Obama to serve another term, it seems rather unnecessary and irresponsible that he is spending his time everywhere except in Washington, where he should be working to solve the crisis.

In the same air of incredulousness, World War II veterans were forced to ram through barricades in order to visit the memorial in Washington. Fifty years ago, the public would have been in uproar over the disrespect to our veterans, regardless of political affiliation. Though this event alone warns us of shifting priorities in our culture, citizens should further be convinced by the fact that an immigration rally was allowed to take place on the National Mall on Tuesday, and conservatives are scolding the government for double standards.

Last weekend, thousands of War veterans and their supporters gathered in protest in D.C. in “The Million Vet March”, demanding that they have full access to the war memorials. Conservative leaders Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Sarah Palin were in attendance giving speeches. How did the federal government respond? By sending in the riot police, according to to local ABC station WJLA.

Since when do we find it acceptable to send police in riot gear to a peaceful rally, the majority of the protestors being elderly men who had valiantly served our country? The events of the past couple of weeks should be sending the masses into shock and fear, yet all we see are our nation’s leaders dancing around and pointing fingers.


Elizabeth Marcello | College of William and Mary | @eliz_mariah