Most Americans know by now that all the talk about debt ceiling and the budget and financial imperatives dominating the political atmosphere in the nation’s capital means nothing so long as Americans cannot find jobs, have lost their health insurance coverage and have lost their homes.  Too many of our citizens in this greatest, most wealthy country on the planet are jobless, homeless and fearful of the future.

That is why it is ridiculous that political leaders from the President to Senate and House leaders seem to have the ability to mightily exercise themselves in the debt ceiling confrontation but are unwilling to tackle the issues that really matter.

It is not that President Barack Obama has not tried to take on the economic monster that he inherited when he was elected to the White House.  The problem is the incredible absence of statesmanship that the Republicans have been demonstrating, from the very start of the tenure of this first African American to be elected president.  The racist overtones are couched in nice terms such as “socialist” to describe him or “take back America,” to describe their effort.

Statesmanship in a country such as ours requires – demands – that all those in positions of leadership set aside differences and tackle any emergency that arises and threatens the national well-being – and we are in a crisis of major proportions. It makes a mockery of the leadership to set aside every consideration but one – to make him a one-term president. And, yes, also to reject any call for the wealthy to play a part in bailing out the country, while helping them preserve and grow their wealth, even those who triggered the Great Recession is simply irresponsible.

Too many people are suffering indescribable economic and social hardships not to be factored into any dialogue about what is happening to the country, not the least being African Americans, who, as a report elsewhere in this issue of South Florida Times points out, are seeing the economic gains of the last few decades, won through hard struggle, almost wiped out.  They are directly in the eye of the hurricane in this mean season.  Our leaders must put an immediate end to the bitterness in Washington, set aside their ideological and other differences and unite behind the task of making America whole again. Anything short of that is unacceptable.