Conservatives generally favor limited government. A smaller government that leaves more responsibility to the people, the conservatives say, is the ideal.
Moderates and liberals are more inclined to favor a government with policies, agencies and programs to perform activities that many conservatives say should be left to the people themselves.
Regardless, conservatives, moderates and liberals generally agree that some level of government is better than none. So, you'd think that those elected by the American people to represent the American people would be able to function well enough together to sustain a functioning government.
Why then, is there such chaos and disagreement among the people we have elected to represent us?
Each side blames the other for the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress. Each side may be partially right. But it seems each party's leaders would rather issue blame than work to resolve the problem.
The U.S. Congress has not passed a budget since 2009. The federal government has operated on continuing resolutions since. One of those continuing resolutions was set to expire at midnight last night, and short of a last minute agreement in the day's late hours, the federal government is beginning a major shutdown of services.
If Democrats and Republicans want someone to blame, they need to look to their own party leaders and their party members' huge egos.
This go round, a major sticking point is the Affordable Care Act. Democrats want to blame Republicans for not budging on their opposition to Obamacare. But the Democrats pushed through the proposal without a single Republican vote.
Somehow, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama each missed out on an early lesson in Political Science 101. The rest of us remember the lesson that good governance involves developing broad consensus among a wide range of political opinions, not ramming a controversial proposal down the minority party's throat.
Yet some Republicans, enough to cause a shutdown, would rather let the government cease functioning than agree to funding the health care act and develop
creative solutions in the coming months.
West Virginia's own elected representatives seem to be reasonable enough that they could work through the differences, assuming their leadership presents a reasonable proposal.
Here's hoping the issue comes to a resolution soon. American voters elect representatives to resolve problems, not create them.