No organization, organism, family, or social system functions perfectly. But as people throughout the world can now see in vivid display, our current government in Washington D.C. is more dysfunctional than it has been for many years.
There are 3 major reasons for this:
1. Dys-function starts with dis-respect. No one likes to be “dissed,” but the players in the Washington drama clearly have no respect for each other anymore, nor are they respected by the American people. Leaders of the past, like Ronald Reagan and Tipp O’Neil, were able to disagree without being disagreeable, but that is no longer the case.
2. Dysfunction happens when labels don’t match their accurate definitions. What comes to mind when you think of the label “Republican”? There are many possibilities. The party of “go along to get along”? The Rinos (Republicans in name only)? The party of Lincoln and liberty? The conservatives…libertarians…or Tea Party? You see, pinning down the label is more complicated than it sounds, because even this one party has become dysfunctional in some ways.
But this doesn’t let the Democrats off the hook. The word “democratic” implies listening to the will of the people, but have the Democrats been doing that the past five years? Not in the least. They don’t seem to care that a majority of Americans are opposed to Obamacare or want it delayed until the bugs can be worked out. They can’t seem to hear the cries of people who are losing their jobs or being reduced to part-time because of the law’s unintended consequences. Instead of living up to their name, “Democrat,” they are dissing the American people.
3. Dysfunction happens when no one leads. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that dysfunction happens when the person who is supposed to be leading refuses to lead. Coining a phrase to describe President Obama’s leadership style, pundits say he “leads from behind.” Instead of getting involved, taking charge, and building a consensus, he more often sits on the sidelines and watches the children fight. Sounds like a dysfunctional family doesn’t it? No one is in charge, so everyone is in charge.
One terrible reality of most dysfunctional families is that they periodically try to patch up their differences and project a “happy family” facade to the world once again. They create some kind of short-term compromise that ignores all of the underlying issues. It’s only a temporary fix until the next fight or breakdown. It’s playacting, and in the church world we would call it hypocrisy.
It takes a miracle to repair a highly dysfunctional family. Disrespect has to be replaced with respect. People have to fulfill their proper roles. And there needs to be good leadership. Yes, these 3 things often require a miracle—something that only can happen with God’s help in changing people’s hearts.
In order for our “family” in Washington to become truly functional again, there will need to be some major heart-change as well. But how can that happen when our nation has increasingly dissed the Lord and left Him out of the picture? It’s no wonder that kids fight out of control when their Heavenly Father has been banished from the scene.