In “Civilization and Its Discontents,” Dr. Sigmund Freud speaks of the aggressive nature of closely associated groups in civilized society. Our political parties are composed of citizens of the same country, yet they band together to mete out their aggression against one another. Freud referred to this phenomenon as “the narcissism of minor differences.”
America is in a bitter cage fight about making good on its outstanding promise to pay its just debts. Desultory negotiations revolve around internal breakdowns on the size of government, spending, taxation and entitlements.
These long-standing issues are important, valid and worthy of attention. However, there should be no linkage between the external commitment to honor an inviolate global trust and our internal political concerns. This is not a proper place to forge major policy. Even if this were the case, the exigencies of the situation do not allow for sober, deliberative decision-making.
All sides speak of satisfying their political bases. Some even cite campaign pledges to vote a certain way. The president and members of Congress each took a solemn oath upon taking office. This oath supersedes any pledge made to narcissistic constituents.
The United States has never been nor should it become a “deadbeat” nation. It is now time for the president to bolster our trust as a leader nation. He can recite the meaning of his canonical vow by making a Lincolnesque declaration to the world that “America shall not default.”
Should it become necessary, the president must take the extraordinarily bold step of invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, his political career and deals be damned.
LSU graduate student