The President signed the debt ceiling compromise yesterday ending two months of ugly partisan bickering in the Congress. The members, exhausted from the long weekend of contentious negotiations, adjourned for a much needed month long recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opined that he had not seen his beloved pomegranate and fig trees in months.
Something else happened almost two months to the day of the President’s signing of this bill; an event that puts all of the ideological infighting into perspective.
On May 1st three members of Seal Team Six entered the third floor bedroom of a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. There they found the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, shielded behind two of his wives. The first Seal entering the room saw the women and feared that they might be wearing suicide bomb vests. Without hesitating he scooped the two women up in a bear hug and pushed them over to a distant corner of the room. He reasoned that if the women were to detonate the vests his body would shield most of the blast and protect his teammates from certain death. This forever nameless hero was willing to sacrifice his life for the good of his team, his mission and his country.
We should always remember that while Congress was engaged in their petty bickering , placing their ideology and self interests ahead of the good of the country, over 100,000 brave men and women were placing their lives on the line in Afghanistan and Iraq. Each and every day they put their country first. Far away from home, they live with the knowledge that each day could be their last. They fight through the paralyzing fear and the extraordinary danger to do their duty…to do the will of the people. They do it to protect our way of life; and so people like Harry Reid can go home to their pomegranate trees.
The behavior of our Congressional leaders over the past few months has been nothing short of an embarrassment. We can be thankful that our military does not operate in the same fashion. Let us hope that in going forward our elected leaders can better exemplify the strength and courage of conviction so evident in our military. Let us hope that our elected leaders can put country first and personal desires second.
For those in the military who sacrifice so much deserve much better in return.