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Features : Editorial Last Updated: Mar 6, 2013 - 9:42:26 AM


Dr. Seuss and Sequestration
By Stephanie W. Mackara, JD
Mar 6, 2013 - 9:41:34 AM

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March 1st, the eve of Dr. Seuss’ birthday has been overshadowed by an event that was never to happen:  the government sequester.  The sequester is represented by $85 billion dollars in automatic spending cuts for 2013 and another $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade.  These cuts were written into the Budget Control Act of 2011 in order to address the deficit, but no one in government expected them to become a reality.  A cut equally to all federally funded programs is simply irresponsible, and everyone knew it at the time, but somehow forgot how divided and divisive our elected representatives can be.  
Black’s law dictionary defines sequestration as “A writ authorizing the taking into the custody of the law of the real and personal estate (or rents, issues, and profits) of a defendant who is in contempt, and holding the same until he shall comply.”
Here the “defendant” is our collective government, who I think we can all agree is in contempt of the American people, that is they seem to have a willful disregard of the impact their actions have on those they are meant to serve. The idea of the governments self imposed sequestration is to compel the parties to take action, to do the right thing in order to settle a dispute, clearly a lapse in judgment on the part of our elected leaders.
In Charleston, South Carolina we are perhaps affected more directly than many other towns across the county. The Charleston area employs several thousand military and federal civilian employees and generates significant revenue from local defense and government agencies for our local economy. The financial impact to our surrounding area, our friends and neighbors, has the potential to be significant.
The deadline of Friday, March 1st, seemed entirely reasonable when the “sequester” was drafted, yet like the fiscal cliff negotiations (or lack thereof) within our government there is little compromise and worse yet, the focus remains on finger pointing and political posturing, not on the impact to our country and fellow Americans. As I struggle to find an answer, and worry for the future of our beloved America, my thoughts turn to my son. Like most parents of young children we strive to teach our children right from wrong, showing them how to have empathy, how to respect others and how to behave. Then it hit me: what our government needs is a big TIME OUT!
Whenever my son does something that is beyond my ability to address with a talking to, when he lacks the focus necessary to understand the impact of his actions, he is sent to the TIME OUT step.  A quiet place deprived of all “stuff” in our home that lets him think about what he has done and what he will need to do to “fix” it.  Isn’t this exactly what our government needs?  Pointing fingers and calling names is a child’s game. Let’s take each of them and put them in a secluded area, take away their pay, televisions, talking points, cell phones, centers of influence and Twitter Accounts and let them each, individually, try their hardest to address the problems that plague our nation and its future.  
There is no science to this, just thoughtful introspection, compromise and a willingness to engage with an active mind. As citizens we have, for far too long, been on the receiving end of poor decision or indecision by our government. It is about time our government takes responsibility. I propose we sequester them in a time out with a stack of Dr. Seuss books until they act like the leaders we know they can be! Let us take a lesson from the wise Dr. Seuss “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

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