Ran in The Tennessean today:

Get past theater and move on to real discussion in Washington

Americans on both sides of the political spectrum are tired of the dangerous brinkmanship that has real, tangible consequences in our everyday lives. This level of grandstanding has become the theater of the absurd, where reasonable compromise is dismissed as "weak," and every decision is somehow the defining moment of our 237-year history and jeopardizes the Union.

We enjoy laughing about it on the late-night talk shows and YouTube clips until we realize that this is a very real problem. The health-care law, set to begin accepting applications today, is all but certain to go into effect. The U.S. is not going to default on its bills in mid-October because doing so would all but certainly push us back into recession. I believe if we can accept these two things as truth, we can start having a real discussion over our national priorities when it comes to the budget, and more importantly what it will take to strengthen our economic recovery.

I am thankful that Republican Sen. Bob Corker spoke out against the absurd level of grandstanding and brinkmanship last week. Each member of Congress was elected to find common ground on issues and use their intellect and best information to weigh the risks and rewards of legislative action, not to simply measure their success in soundbites.

Stephen Yeargin
Nashville 37206