Blair H. Taylor
July 25, 2011
Dear Mr. Boehner:
I listened intently to your speech and the speech of the President tonight. I must say, I am saddened and even stunned by the approaches you are pursuing as one of the leaders of this great nation.
I carefully watched the President as he talked of compromise and meeting in the middle. Then I watched you, as you spoke of your principles and the need to battle the President. I could not have been more disappointed with your remarks, and the risks that you appear to be recklessly willing to subject this nation to.
Allow me to speak frankly to you as a citizen and taxpayer: With less than one week left until our nation’s credit rating is most likely downgraded, all partisan politics are dead. It is time to simply do what is needed for this nation to continue.
I have made several trips to China recently. In our nation’s best moments, that is, if we were working in unison with a passionate devotion to collaboration, I genuinely believe that we will still be hard pressed to catch China in this century. Instead, we are handing over the leadership of the global economy by our own volition, because we are unable to compromise.
It is simply unimaginable that our nation has deteriorated into one in which the premise of compromise – something that has been required to keep our government going for more than two centuries – simply cannot occur anymore in Washington DC. Our system of government is intrinsically predicated on compromise. Yet here we are, on the eve of another financial armageddon paralyzed and unable to engage in such compromise.
Leaders like you appear to be more concerned with adhering to false principles than doing the work of running the nation in times of crisis. The Republican Party is confusing principle and policy: “No new taxes” is a policy position, not a principle. Smaller government vs. big government is likewise, policy not principle. Cuts equal to the increase to the debt ceiling is also policy, not principle. And all of these policies must be reconsidered if the circumstances and good of the nation require it to be so.
Hypothetically, if a person were elected as an anti-war Congressman (i.e. he or she was , elected on a platform of “peace at all costs”,) that leader should still be willing to support going to war if our nation’s soil is ruthlessly attacked by a foreign enemy. He or she should do so regardless of what kind of “pledge” they may have signed regarding peaceful policies before the crisis hit. In times of crisis, even the most heartfelt policies, and even the ones which may have gotten you elected, may well need to be set aside in the interests of doing what is best for the nation.
In the end, this crisis is all about leadership. In any position in any industry, great leaders will always have something they will risk their job for. The problem in our Congress today may well be that it is filled with elected officials who do not have anything they will risk their jobs over (or perhaps even worse, do not know what is worth doing so). Not even the prospect of the financial demise of the nation they serve is sufficient to pull them out of their foxholes. Unfortunately, it appears that our leaders are infused largely with the myopic goal of keeping their jobs, or expanding their influence.
In times of crisis, great leaders lead. And in our nation under our current system of government, great leaders must also compromise. Nowhere is this more true than in times of crisis Don’t allow the village to be burned to the ground so that you can later assert some false principle to the ashes of our financial system. No one will reward you then for burning the village to save it.
I urge you to break from party ranks right now, and do what is right for America. This is your moment, Mr. Boehner. And a solution to this crisis will most certainly require a spirit of compromise – something our nation needs now more than ever before.
Mr. Blair H. Taylor
Blair Hamilton Taylor is the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League