The View on the Way Down Might Not Be Half Bad

Killarney ParkWhile I can be potentially as pessimistic as any American about the ability of our elected officials to shepherd us through these difficult and dangerous times, on this rare occasion, I applaud the combined  political aplomb of both Democrats and Republicans. By keeping a crisis weary nation focused on the possibility of going over the so-called fiscal cliff on January 1st, they have effectively shifted our attention away from the pending December 21st end of the world supposedly prophesied by the Maya. This clever bipartisan manuever will ensure that Americans will press on with their holiday plans, thus insuring a robust fourth quarter in consumer spending. Now as to whether or not Mr. Boehner or President Obama can marshal their troops in order to deal with our long-term fiscal concerns, in the event that the Mayan timetable proves to be no more accurate at predicting the future than my 2011 Worlds Cutest kittens calendar was–is well beyond my powers of prognostication.

I find myself equally puzzled by the prospect of this nation enduring further economic hardships as a result of government inaction caused by the irrational self-serving behavior of a handful of political hacks that have no true sense of either patriotism or public service. So the big question remains, are we better off striking that grand bargain, or would we be better served by taking a leap of faith off that pecuniary plateau?

The results of the November election strongly suggest that Americans long for those compromises that will restore stability and faith in the marketplace. But as is often the case, deals that are acceptable to both parties, while they make for great signing ceremonies, tend to inadequately address our problems. So perhaps a bit of a free fall after the first of the year might not be such a bad thing. I’m all for giving a new Senate and Congress the chance to spread their wings. Who knows, they may even take the nation to new heights.

But just in case they are unable to live up to my optimistic metaphors, and we hit our heads on the next dept ceiling and come crashing down to the canyon’s floor–here is a bit music from our friend Matt De Blass to help soften the landing.

Matt De BlassClick on Matt’s picture or the title to hear his original uplifting Irish ditty – “Bartender I’ll Have What the Man on the Floor Has Been Drinking

Posted by: Chris Poh

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And the Lion Shall Sit Down with the Lamb

 
 
President Obama shakes hands with Speaker Boehner - photo by Jim Young/Rueters
 
Whether or not we can achieve the long-term civility and cooperation envisioned by President Obama in his State of the Union address remains to be seen. But at least for one night during this long cold winter, there appeared to be a bit of genuine warmth emanating from  the House chamber. The simple gesture of having the members of both parties sitting next to each other might actually begin to change the tone in Washington. (If nothing else, the tone of Speaker John Boehner’s tan finally seemed balanced.)

On this particular night the United States Congress  appeared to be the government  of all the people, instead of the usual partisan fans of two opposing teams in their assigned bleachers at a high school football game.

Since the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords there has been much talk about the need to change the tone of our political dialogue. While I will not speculate as to what degree the events in Tucson were influenced by the current level of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, my years of experience in the tavern business have taught me that our discourse and tone certainly do matter. 

I have been witness to too many instances where a highly charged atmosphere combined with some  ill-chosen words  provided the license and excuse for the less rational patrons to display their violent tendencies. 

On the other hand though, I have experienced many more occasions where a kind word, a calming hand on the shoulder, or just the invite to sit down next to someone else diffused a potentially dangerous situation. So let us not discount the power of what we say or where we sit.

Tir na nog Irish Pub - Trenton, NJ

So in the spirit of proper tavern etiquette,  I would ask our politicians  to please remember the following points:

  • There is a place for everyone at the bar.
  • On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish.
  • The rest of the year we are all Americans.

Posted by: Chris Poh

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