defining social justice

One of the things each of my parents instilled in me at a young age was the importance of being a clear communicator. It’s hard to problem solve when we aren’t talking about the same thing.

We witnessed that in the aftermath of the George Floyd trauma. As our country engaged in increased, courageous conversation about ethnicity and race, people oft, unknowingly talked past each other, failing to recognize that two very different definitions of “racism” were in play. While embedded in the two is the idea that one race is inherently superior to another, one definition sees it as an individual belief; the other sees it as systemic. If individual, then we each have something to work on. If systemic, then only the people who hold the power, so-to-speak, have something to work on, as it would by definition, thereby be impossible for those with perceived lesser power to be racist. Hence, it’s difficult to make progress when our definitions are different — and when we refuse to listen sincerely or long enough to actually realize the definitions are different. We just shout louder, as if for some reason, turning up the volume would decrease the dissent.

I’ve noticed, no less, other concepts with similar, ingrained miscommunication.

Think “wicked,” for example. For some, that’s a direct correlation to evil. To others, it’s another word for “awesome,” something being “wickedly good”! (For me, in fact, it refers to my favorite Broadway musical.)

“Dressing” is another one. Is that something on top of salad or something stuffed inside our favorite Thanksgiving fowl?

There are obviously more (i.e. Does “pop” refer to our father, soft drink, or some explosive sound? And is “dope” really good or really bad?). 

Definitions matter, friends. And if we are going to be persons making positive societal contributions, one healthy next step would to be to ensure we are all on the same page, that we are communicating clearly, and we are utilizing the same definitions.

One area in which we thus struggle in our communication is with the frequently articulated concept of social justice; there is no single definition. Allow us to highlight a few:

From the United Nations: “Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.”

From the National Association of Social Workers: “Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.”

And from the John Lewis Institute for Social Justice: “Social justice is a communal effort dedicated to creating and sustaining a fair and equal society in which each person and all groups are valued and affirmed.”

Key to comprehend in every definition — and necessary in order to avoid persons again unknowingly talking past each other — is the embedded distinction of opportunity vs. outcome — or as also stated, equality vs. equity.

Equality means everyone is treated the same, given the same resources or opportunities. Outcomes may vary, pending how resources and opportunities are used.

Equity means resources are allocated however perceived necessary to produce the exact same outcome for all. 

While it’s a significant distinction, let me suggest no one be quick to assume one is all right and one is all wrong. Let us recognize that many things are in play.

Circumstances matter; some life circumstances are most obviously, significantly harder than others. 

Personal responsibility also matters; some persons demonstrate significantly more initiative, responsibility, and ethicality in managing their own life.

So what’s compassionate? What’s responsible? What’s effective? What’s enabling? What works and takes all of the above into account?

Hence, both the individual and circumstantial angles are in play. It’s not so black-and-white. We would thus be wise not to ignore either. That is, if we really want to communicate…



entering the (too early, exhausting) election fray

Ready or not, here we come… It’s only 622 days until our next presidential election! [Insert collective, exhausting sigh here.]

I don’t mind the election. As an advocate of respectful dialogue, however, I mind how people treat one another during it. Truthfully, friends, I don’t know if any of us are really ready. The campaigning starts way too early, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our mass media is ready — but I suppose that’s only true if their desire is to actually report the news as opposed to craft/manipulate a desired perspective. Too many feel the freedom to attempt to sway public opinion instead of present facts for public opinion.

Last week, no less — not counting any former Rhode Island mayors or eloquent entrepreneurs — we witnessed our first substantial, non-President contestant enter the fray.

(FYI: The definition of “fray” is as follows:

fray (noun) –

  1. a fight, battle, or skirmish.
  2. a competition or contest, especially in sports.
  3. a noisy quarrel or brawl.

I would suggest all definitions may be true. That brawl one spurs on additional exhaustion.)

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley officially announced her candidacy. 

Friends, before today’s hopefully insightful commentary, allow me to add some very brief context: 

  • I have routinely voted for persons representing different parties.
  • I believe both parties have nominated some very poor candidates in recent years.
  • I don’t believe in sacrificing integrity, compassion or competency via my vote.

That said, I believe in looking at a candidate’s record. While I appreciate a candidate’s background, that will not be the principal reason for my vote. Instead…

What policy have they advocated for and/or enacted? What have been the results of that policy? In the short term? Long term? Where have they changed what they believe in policy-wise? Why? Records matter.

And yet, when Nikki Haley announced her candidacy — and I don’t care which party she represents in saying this — note the reactions of the media who spoke loudest of something other than her record…

From CNN’s Don Lemon who said on his morning show about the 51 year old Haley: She “isn’t in her prime”… A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s… Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it.”

From The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, dismissing Haley’s call for a “new generation” of leadership: “You’re not a new generation; you’re 51.”

From Daily Beast contributor Wajahat Ali on MSNBC, accusing Haley of using her brown skin “as a weapon against poor black folks and poor brown-black folks,” adding: “She uses her brown skin to launder white supremacist talking points… She’s the alpha-Karen with brown skin. And for white supremacists and racists, she is a perfect Manchurian candidate.”

Nikki Haley is a woman. She is 51. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. Her birth name is Nimarata Nikki Randhaw. She has long gone by her middle name, just like Ashton Kutcher, Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna. Friends, let me be clear; none of the above will be why I choose to vote for or against candidate Haley.

I also won’t vote for or against potential candidates Kamala Harris because she’s a 58 year old, multi-racial woman, Pete Buttigieg because he’s a 41 year old, gay man, or Ron DeSantis because he’s a 44 year old white man. None of these attributes tell us enough about the person. They don’t reveal character. They don’t equate to any aspect of integrity. And they tell us nothing of how the candidate would potentially govern.

So let’s talk about what matters most. Regardless of party. And let’s also quit accepting this slippery speak from the media… on the left… on the right. They too often focus on lesser things. They too often don’t really report the news.

(Did I mention this may be exhausting?)



learning from Gen Z

A fascinating phenomenon is happening in a small Kentucky town, on a fairly unheralded college campus. It’s spreading. And increasingly attracting the attention of massive others. People are driving to… flying in… all ages and ethnicities…

From NBC: “A Christian service at a college chapel in Kentucky has ballooned into a nonstop prayer and worship session that some are calling a ‘revival’ — and people are traveling thousands of miles to take part in it after seeing viral videos on TikTok.”

From CBS: “Thousands of people are flooding to Wilmore, Kentucky, to attend an ongoing chapel service. But what started in Kentucky has now made its way to Lee University.”

[… to Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Alabama and more…]

From ABC: “It’s something that people are live streaming. It’s something we see posted about on social media. And I think that this is the beginning of unity like we’ve never seen before.”

Following their regular weekly chapel service at Asbury University a week ago Wednesday — in a service described as “ordinary” and “unremarkable” — students stuck around. They began to share, pray, and worship. More ventured in. They spontaneously stayed; they were spontaneously stirred. They began to confess, repent, and encourage one another in that confession and repentance. Bottom line: they were intentionally seeking God together. And they continue still today.

Yes, something unique is happening. And let it be lost on no one that it started in one of our youngest generations.

In my observations, interactions and study of Gen Z, one of the things I deeply admire is their collective craving for authenticity. It’s important to stand for something meaningful — to be true to themselves — and to be consistent.

Unfortunately, they haven’t always witnessed such in we adults who’ve gone before them.

They’ve sadly grown up in these recent decades of rampant, polarizing disunity, value digression and cultural confusion. They’ve grown into adulthood watching supposedly mature adults have no idea how to handle disagreement. They’ve seen us act as if it’s ok to selectively love your neighbor, like it depends on who your neighbor is. They’ve seen us justify judgment, unkindness and absurdity. We can’t continue like this. It’s a totally unsustainable path. We need a solution. That solution will not be found in any person or politics. And Gen Z knows this.

I’m not sure Gen Z has always known how to articulate what they’ve experienced; geepers — I don’t always know how to articulate such. So as we resist stereotyping all into groupthink, I have no doubt Gen Z has witnessed an inauthenticity that’s preceded them.

Which leads us back to Asbury, Kentucky, and the students who lingered… and the masses that have grown. They want something more. No people. No politics.

And so they bowed. They bowed, visibly demonstrating a posture of reverence and humility.

Let’s be honest; it hasn’t been all that cool lately for 20-something’s to openly seek God — to give Him credit or praise Him out loud… that is, unless you’re standing on a Super Bowl sideline. And yet it’s amazing what happens when we do… when we recognize human hands are incapable of solution for the unsustainable paths.

The college kids have thus been teaching us by seeking God in earnest. In a posture of humility. With zero condemnation. I think that’s beautiful. I think we adults have much to learn. Again, imperfect as we are.

Let’s go one more step here today. Let us acknowledge that this may well be a difficult phenomenon to understand for some. God gets that. He has sweet patience with the skeptic (remember the origin of a “doubting Thomas”??). But let’s be real, friends; there is a clear difference between healthy skepticism versus condemnation veiled as thoughtful critique. We tend to criticize what we don’t understand; we stunt our own growth. Sometimes we’re even critical of a childlike faith, dismissing the beauty… or in this case, the beauty within Gen Z.

We need divine discernment. We can’t know all things without it. We all need to learn to crave that.

I think those 20-something’s know that, too. I think that’s why they’ve craved for more. May we thus learn from them — from their absolute beautiful posture of both reverence and humility.




I’ll admit it right from the start. I didn’t plan it this way. It just sort of played itself out… kind of just happened.

For Sunday night’s Super Bowl LVII between the Eagles and Chiefs, I went into the game unsure of where my zeal would soon lie. I like the Eagles. I like the Chiefs. I admire the outspoken faith-comes-first approach of each team’s leaders, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes. I also appreciate the newly popular podcasters, the articulate brothers Kelce, wittily representing their respective teams. 

From a perceived negative perspective, there isn’t much I dislike about either team. I mean, with 53 players on each team’s active roster, no team will corner the market on character. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of either team’s colors as one feels kind of blah and I’ve also long semi-humbly declared that “no man looks good in yellow pants.” Just my opinion, friends.

But what happened as the game ensued, with the Eagles soaring first and the Chiefs leading later, is that I found myself not choosing a team. In fact, I never chose one. I had moments in which I felt, “Hey, that’s a great play!” Or “Wow… where was the pass coverage on that?” In other words, I had times where I cheered and times when I jeered — times perceived to be supportive and critical of each NFL team. But there were no darts thrown. No zingers. There was something about my absence of choice that allowed for both a more objective analysis and an awareness that insult was unnecessary. Not only is insult unnecessary, but it serves zero constructive purpose; insult only serves to rattle.

The scenario made me increasingly observant of the number who attempt to make us choose… like we can only be one or the other… an Eagles fan or a Chiefs fan. And we do this in far more than football. We attempt to make people choose… We tell them they have to… they stand for nothing if they don’t stand for something. They’re either for us or against us!

Friends, let me say this as kindly as possible. I think that’s a bunch of nice-sounding hogwash.

I’m not being mean. I get it. I really do. If I can get you to join me in my thinking, I get one more person on my team. And if you don’t choose me, well, I can write you off a bit. I don’t have to waste my time with what you think. The only problem with that is that the person who sees the wisdom of not needing to conform to our culturally-crafted, black-and-white sides is also typically the one who holds the greater likelihood of objective analysis. Our “choice” often impedes our discernment.

Think simply of this past week, of the number who encouraged such black-and-white choosing on much…

On who is most adept at protecting us from those big, bad spy balloons…

On whether it was right or wrong for the First Lady to kiss the Second Gentleman on the lips in public of all places…

On whether the eye-catching “He Gets Us” commercials have unstated, ulterior motives…

On whether Pres. Biden is too old to run for re-election, Pres. Trump is too old to run, and if “ageism” is in play for either man or Madonna…

And of course…

On whether grown men ever look good in yellow pants. 

Friends, I know this isn’t a popular perspective. It doesn’t always feel good for the beholder either. I admit, it would be easier many days to choose — to make everything black and white, to quit being curious, to adopt a singular standpoint and then run all analysis through our binary filter. That would be easier. We could quit listening to the different then, ignoring the reality that we will always have more to learn. We learn most when we remain curious.

At our Super Bowl party Sunday night, in fact, where we had a festive crowd of some 30 gathered, there is no doubt that both the Eagles and Chiefs diehards in the room would have preferred I choose their team. You should have heard them cheer! I get it. Indeed! I feel the same way about my beloved Bengals and Boilermakers in their respective sports.

Granted, I’m not always the most objective either.




Greetings, friends.

Today I had my post long planned out. We have been out of the country for the week behind, so some pre-work had been done, ensuring the posts were timely and relevant for the reader and non-taxing and relaxing for the writer. It was a wonderful week.

Yet as I sit here prior to posting, something doesn’t feel 100% right about going ahead and penning as planned. Sure, it would be easy.

It would be equally easy this day to write about multiple angles surrounding today’s much anticipated Super Bowl LVII between the Chiefs and the Eagles… the faith and mindset of Mahomes and Hurts, the professional and personal tenure of coach Andy Reid — and how his once-believed disappointing dismissal from one led to increased success with the other, and of course, all things brothers Kelce.

We could also easily contemplate the massive consumption by us who watch today. Exactly how many chicken wings will be eaten? (Note: no wings here. In a tribute to Burrow and the Bengals — who almost made this game — Skyline Chili and Montgomery Inn BBQ will be on the menu.)

Nonetheless, all that would be easy. And all that would miss the unfathomable.

On Monday of last week, two earthquakes, near the Syrian border, struck Turkey and Syria. They had magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.5, approximately 9 hours apart. 

Initial reporting showed the death toll to be massive; early confirmations were in the low thousands. That number, the number of confirmed deaths, at time of this writing is now over 29,000 people. According to AlJazeera, as of today, the number of deaths in Turkey rose to 24,617, with more than 4,500 people dying in Syria.

Let us sit with that number…


Know, too, in addition to the unfathomable tragedy, there are stories of extraordinary rescue. See, for example, the video of the young girl removed from the rubble “in the 150th hour,” said Dr. Fahrettin Koca, the health minister of Turkey. Absolutely, unspeakably amazing.

I felt need, no less, to speak a little bit more… a broader point, if you will… one that made me put my previous post away…

Sometimes it’s easy to sit behind our keyboards and simply peck away.

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on nearby occurrences that more gleefully attract our attention or are aligned with our individual passions.

Sometimes, therefore, obviously, it’s easy to not care about what doesn’t happen right in front of us.

But I think it’s important to care.

I think it’s important to recognize that our experience is only our experience; it isn’t everyone else’s. And that simple fact should broaden our perspective, realizing that we magnify and diminish based on what we actually see.

We care based on the proximity of our own experience.

29,000 people doesn’t let me do that today.

Just thinking sort of out loud, friends…

May our perspective always be broadened, recognizing how limited our individual vantage points often are.

Respectfully… and God be with the people in Turkey and Syria…


questions from 2023

As is our frequent practice, let us ask what people are asking. We surveyed the sites to see what questions are asked. Note: if a site isn’t referenced, they may indeed be a resource that isn’t very fluent in posing inquiries; they may more tell us what to think than ask us what to think. Granted, as Intramuralist readers have long known, the question mark is the only punctuation piece that invites a response.

Here, then, are 75 questions we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, being asked in the news:

  1. Are Americans Still Capable of Self-Government?
  2. Are Blue States Ready To Relax Their Bans On Later Abortions?
  3. Are Standardized Tests Racist, or Are They Anti-Racist?
  4. Are ‘The Walls Closing In’ on Joe Biden?
  5. Are We Too Worried About Misinformation?
  6. Beyond Biden: Who’s Next?
  7. The Biden Papers & Mar-a-Lago Docs: Apples & Oranges?
  8. Can America Rediscover What Made It Great?
  9. Can Anything Be Done To Assuage Rural Rage?
  10. Can DeSantis ‘Deprogram’ Blue States?
  11. Can the GOP Become a Real Working-Class Party?
  12. Can the White House Clean-Up Crew Rescue Biden?
  13. CNN: The Comedy News Network?
  14. The DeSantis “knockout blow” for Trump?
  15. Did Tua Tagovailoa’s Concussions or Damar Hamlin’s Injury Hurt NFL More?
  16. Do GOP Leaders Want Trump In 2024?
  17. Does Anyone Still Think Biden Is Democrats’ Best Option?
  18. Fact Check: Does Project Veritas Video Show Pfizer Is Mutating COVID?
  19. Force Workers to Pay Fees to Big Labor for Making Them ‘Worse Off?’
  20. God, Will Prince Harry Shut Up?
  21. House Dems Were Smug, But Do They Have a Plan?
  22. How can we get justice for Tyre Nichols and other victims of police brutality?
  23. How Did U.S. Let Google Get So Powerful In the First Place? 
  24. How popular is Joe Biden?
  25. How unpopular is Joe Biden?
  26. How will the Russia-Ukraine war end?
  27. How will we know if the US economy is in a recession?
  28. How worried should you be about your gas stove?
  29. Is Biden a Viable Candidate for 2024?
  30. Is Haley Setting a ‘Man-Trap’ for 2024 Rivals? 
  31. Is It Fair To Compare Biden’s And Trump’s Classified Documents Scandals?
  32. Is It Payback Time for Democratic Zealots?
  33. Is it really offensive to say ‘the French’?
  34. Is Our Ukrainian Optimism Misplaced?
  35. Is the NFL rigged? 
  36. Is This the End of Lori Lightfoot?
  37. Is U.S. Headed Toward Socialism?
  38. Isn’t It Time for Adam Schiff To Be Expelled From Congress?
  39. Looking For A Tax Break?
  40. Recent infighting raises the question: How conservative is the GOP?
  41. Since When Was a Debate Over Spending Unreasonable?
  42. Ukraine War: Closer to Nightmare Scenario?
  43. Was ‘Every Conspiracy Theory’ About Twitter True?
  44. We can’t say ‘aloha’ now, either?
  45. Were Black Officers Really ‘Driven by Racism’?
  46. Were the Justices Investigated in the Dobbs Leak Probe?
  47. What Did Biden Know & When Did He Know It?
  48. What happened to Tyre Nichols?
  49. What is the Memphis police SCORPION unit?
  50. What Will Political Arsonist Matt Gaetz Do w/New Powers?
  51. What would ‘winning’ in Ukraine mean?
  52. What’s Behind ‘Unusual’ Hunter Biden Email?
  53. Where Are Oil Prices Heading In 2023?
  54. Where is the rest of the Tyre Nichols story?
  55. Who is George Santos and why is he in trouble?
  56. Who was Tyre Nichols, the man allegedly murdered by 5 Memphis police officers?
  57. Who’s Laughing Now?
  58. Who’s the Intolerant Jerk?
  59. Why Are Hacks Like Stephen Colbert Fawning Over Harry?
  60. Why Are M&M’s Caving to Rightwing Anti-Woke Pressure?
  61. Why Have the Biden Papers Surfaced—& to What End?
  62. Why, Only Now, Is All of This Coming Out?
  63. Why Won’t ‘Transparent’ Biden Open Delaware Records?
  64. Will Americans Even Notice an Improving Economy?
  65. Will Biden Think Twice About Running for Reelection?
  66. Will ‘no regrets’ be Biden’s epitaph as the classified docs pile up?
  67. Will the Corrupt FBI Come to Biden’s Rescue?
  68. Will Republicans Blow Up the Global Economy?
  69. Will the Supreme Court Torpedo the Financial System?
  70. Will Tyre Nichols’s Murder Finally Make Congress Do Something About Police Reform?
  71. With Billions at stake, why do we allow NFL referees to make “BAD CALLS”?
  72. Would Putting South Carolina First Give Black Democrats A Stronger Voice?
  73. The Year Feinstein Finally Retires?
  74. $18 a dozen: how did America’s eggs get absurdly expensive?
  75. $60 Billion In COVID Fraud?

I will always value both the art and the discipline of asking good questions. Such is the key to respectful dialogue.



[Sources cited include: ABC News, AllSides, American Greatness, American Spectator, Associated Press, The Atlantic, BBC, Bleacher Report, CNS News, DC Examiner, Epoch Times, The Federalist, FiveThirtyEight, Forbes, The Guardian, The Hill, HotAir, I&I/TIPP, Inside Hook, London School of Economics and Political Science, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, The Nation, New York Post, New York TImes, Newsweek, Novara Media, NPR,, PJ Media, The Political Insider, Politico, Reason, RealClearPolitics, Recode, Salon, Slate, The Spectator, Spiked, Sportskeeda, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.]

why can’t we see the good (or great) in other people?

I have a bit of a confession today. And please — no judgment. I’m simply being transparent. And remember transparency doesn’t mean sharing all about all. It means communicating in such a way that what’s behind what we articulate can be distinctly seen. So…

Truth: for years I couldn’t stand Tom Brady.

I know, I know…

He’s the so-called “G.O.A.T.” — the “Greatest of All Time”… the man who guided his team to 7 Super Bowl wins — 6 with the Patriots and 1 with Tampa Bay; no player has won more than 5. He’s the NFL career leader in both passing yards and touchdown passes. He was named the league MVP 3 times and Super Bowl MVP 5 times. Suffice it to say, that in his profession, that of being an NFL quarterback, the resume of no one is comparable to that of Mr. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. He is, unquestionably, the “G.O.A.T.”

But as one who didn’t like him, let me also add this: 

I couldn’t see how good he was. 

I disliked him so much, I compromised my assessment of his greatness.

Allow me a bit of a brief back story, if you will. (Note: backstories always matter.)

Growing up, I didn’t possess a hometown football team until the Baltimore Colts cryptically crept into the Midwest one midnight in March. Their first seasons in Indianapolis were rather dismal, almost as if they were destined to pay for their blatant disloyalty to Johnny Unitas and the entire state of Maryland.

The Colts were soon resuscitated by none other than Peyton Manning, who endured a year of learning the pace and profession of an NFL QB, but would soon become the great hope (and passing arm) of the franchise. He would do very well… very well! However, each year, every year, the team that stood most between the Colts and the Super Bowl was the New England Patriots. The player that stood most between Peyton Manning and the Super Bowl was Tom Brady. 

In the 17 times the two played against one another, Brady won 11 times. Hence, call Brady our opponent. Call him our nemesis. Call him whatever you want. Call him the source of my annual, dreaded angst… the one I rooted against like crazy. But whatever you do, do not — I repeat, do not — call him the “G.O.A.T.” He was good, sure. But he wasn’t Peyton. 

A funny thing then happened. After 20 seasons in New England, Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This occurred ahead of the 2020 season. 

Then something else fascinatingly happened. Often stoic and tight-lipped in his tenure with the Patriots, when Brady came to Florida, there was something different about him. He seemed a little more jolly. A little more at ease. It was easy to tell he was having fun playing the game — something not always visible to those of us watching him in the Northeast. But he began to exhibit a personality that seemed increasingly more attractive to be around.

One more thing, of course, had also happened. With Manning’s previous retirement, the two never again faced each other on the field. Neither stood in the way of the other in their most prized pursuit.

Interestingly — and here is where I will once more argue this is not really a sports post — this is where the keen learning comes in.

There is no question that I couldn’t see either how good or how great Tom Brady was. I knew he had gifts, but I negated the entirety of his skill set. Not only did I negate his skill set, I diminished his character. I even poked holes in it. I intelligently also argued with others as to why their glowing perspective was completely untrue.


That’s the zillion dollar question. Why?

Because he was in competition with something I wanted.

Friends, I couldn’t see Tom Brady for the person he was because I let other things get in the way. My perspective was skewed. Not because of Tom Brady. But because of me.

There’s the learning. Where else do we do that? Who else do we do that to?

It’s amazing how much our perspective changes. It’s equally insightful how much it needs to change, recognizing how so much unknowingly skews what is good and right and true. 



the debt ceiling can-can

For those who may have tuned out the politicians once more in this (nice) non-election season, one of the looming situations is another debt ceiling fight. Allow me to say it in the words of Declan Garvey, editor of The Morning Dispatch:

“Welcome, esteemed guests, to this year’s performance of the debt limit dance—a cherished congressional tradition wherein lawmakers wrangle over whether to allow the Treasury to take on enough debt to cover the spending Congress has already approved.”


The debt ceiling is the maximum amount the U.S. government can borrow to meet its financial obligations. It doesn’t authorize new spending; rather it’s what the government needs to borrow in order to cover their existing expenses. 

The current national debt is approximately $31.46 trillion dollars.

(For emphasis sakes, that would be $31,460,000,000,000.)

To raise or not to raise the borrowing limit is the core question of the current/ongoing debate. Remember: the act of raising the debt ceiling doesn’t cost taxpayers more in the moment. It simply allows the government to borrow more money.

So the problem from indeed, very much a layman’s perspective, is that it’s a larger mess that no one has yet had the moxie to actually solve. 

This is arguably, therefore, a glaring manifestation of what it means to “kick the can down the road.” We have lots of leaders who are quite comfortable with the kicking dance.

Pending where one sits — and whether one’s desire is to raise or deny the limit — dictates where one stands. Politicians camp in partisan corners, proclaim their unquestionable correctness, simultaneously sharing how they are so selflessly looking out for the good of the country.

As said, where one sits, dictates where one stands. Whether one wishes to raise or deny, depends on power possessed. For example, as Garvey notes:

“Established by Congress in 1917 to help the federal government borrow money more easily, the debt ceiling has long proved a convenient political soapbox whenever the time comes to raise it—for both sides of the aisle. In 2006, for example, then-Sen. Barack Obama voted against lifting the debt limit to protest President George W. Bush’s ‘reckless fiscal policies’—a stance he regretted dearly when faced with his own debt ceiling battle as president a few years later. But in the past, lawmakers tended to resolve these squabbles relatively amicably. The fights were ‘partisan, but not perilous,’ said Laura Blessing, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute.”

But sadly, our leaders seem to collectively no longer be able to resolve these squabbles amicably. 

That, my friends, is not stewarding one’s leadership well. Regardless of the consonant after their name.

So my desire this day is less about any current can-can dance and more about a long term solution. This pattern of massive spending (and massive spending and more massive spending) is unsustainable. It cannot last.

Which thus brings me to two more deeper desires…

… for our leaders to solve the bigger problem.

… and for each to act a little bigger in the way they treat one another.

I don’t believe either is too much to ask.