When siblings are squabbling,  parents often use the phrase “Don’t make me come in there,” a parental threat that should instill dread, if not detente in the children.

America is at a “Don’t make me come in there” moment with Washington, D.C. Citizens should let politicians in Washington know they are fed up with the government shut down, and especially with the way they are acting like petulant children.  Washington doesn’t need a time out, it needs a parent with a firm hand.Politics is generally a great spectator sport—fun to watch, but not to play. It’s time for America to get out of the stands, storm the field and force the two sides to play together.

It is hard to get riled up when one doesn’t see evidence of a shut down here in Keizer (unless one is employed by the federal government). Some may feel that the shut down isn’t so bad, it doesn’t affect them. Some may feel that shutting down the government is a good thing: “Starve the beast!” This is no way to run a country—playing chicken on a humongous scale.

The two sides are so entrenched, they refuse to talk to each other. The Republicans want to defund the Affordability Care Act (ACA), which is a non-starter for Obama and the Democrats. For all intents and purposes, ACA is the law of the land, trying to defund it seems unfair.  The health care reform legislation has passed two houses of Congress, been signed by the president and has been affirmed by the highest court in the land.  It’s time to move on.  There are larger problems the country faces than the fact that millions of Americans will get health insurance.

The economic recovery still sputters; we’ve lost millions of jobs—many of which most likely will never return; climate change is causing endless natural calamities across the country. Though people like the schools in Keizer, there are parts of the country where that is certainly not the case. An aging population will strain our ability to pay out promised Social Security benefits in the future.

Politicians in Washington need to do the job they were hired to do. Refusing to compromise with the other side and shutting down the government may be a hit with some constituents back home, but it doesn’t do anything for the harder problems to be faced. The government is shut down because the two sides can’t decide on a budget. This will seem like child’s play when the two sides go at it again regarding raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Failing to do that will harm the economy more than a prolonged shut down.

If they don’t do the job that is required, Washington could very well find itself facing a very angry and fed up American public.