What was gained Wednesday night with legislation to reopen the federal government and raise the debt limit was a temporary reprieve, not a victory.
Using the battle analogy that has been so appropriate during this congressional infighting, let us consider this a time for peace talks, in which each side comes to the table to negotiate.
We acknowledge this is complicated by having more than two sides in the conflict over federal spending. The battle within the Republican Party between moderates and the Tea Party make this more difficult for people like House Speaker John Boehner. But compromise must be the order of the day, because rigid positions aren't going to bring victories for America's future.
Federal spending must decrease. We all know that.
And we all should realize that an overhaul of the tax code is in order as well. Big corporations with giant profits shouldn't escape from paying their fair share, just as individuals should pay their fair share.
And in all of this debate, consider the effects on the economy — which would have been considerable had Wednesday's increase in the debt limit not been approved — along with the effects on the quality of life for individuals and for society as a whole.
Bringing certainty, along with a solid revenue base, will encourage businesses to resume investing in their operations.
Achieving this stability requires drafting a budget that makes deliberate choices rather than continuing resolutions that merely extend previous choices.
Make smart investments in infrastructure, science, public health and other areas that will yield long-term and short-term results.
And definitely set a better example of how a democratic republic is supposed to work. The partial shutdown of government and the close call on the debt limit set an example of dysfunction that will have long-term negative repercussions for the respect of the U.S. government not only around the world but also by its own citizens.
This must not happen again.
Treat fellow public servants with respect. Be civil. Learn and practice the art of compromise. Be a good example for your constituents and for fellow Americans outside your district.
The future of the nation depends on it.