Some of us might conclude that the Washington Beltway political scene is a case study for ineptitude, incompetence and futility based on the current performance of our elected leaders. I wonder if the Founding Fathers ever envisioned it being this contentious and dysfunctional?

How would you compare America’s current domestic and international challenges to those faced by the governing bodies during the Revolutionary War era, the Civil War, WWI, the Great Depression and WWII?

A lot has changed since then. Fueling the discord is the pervasive 24/7 news coverage. The problems we face today are enormous. They weren’t created overnight and they can’t be solved by a divided country lacking a leadership team willing to give a little to get a little.

Many people might say their fellow Americans are losing hope that our problems can be solved. This is an important tipping point. Americans have always believed we can debate the issues, study the options, come together, figure out a compromise and move forward.

Is this time different? For decades we’ve been digging a hole. When faced with tough decisions, we’ve shirked our duties by “kicking the can down the road” by digging the hole even deeper. We keep thinking the problems will go away, or that future leaders will deal with the crisis.

Optimists will argue that things aren’t so bad. If you want bad, read about the horrors of the Civil War, the Great Depression and WWII. Compared to those times, we are in good shape and the future has never been brighter.

Maybe we wouldn’t worry so much if we had reason to have confidence in the leadership in the White House and Congress? Americans are hopelessly divided and its becoming hard to see what will trigger a renewal of bipartisanship.

Congress has even crafted special rules for the specific purpose of breaking its own unbreakable rules. They just shrug their shoulders and say “that’s politics.”

Denny Freidenrich of Laguna Beach, CA. says “health insurance security promotes national security.” He adds “a first-rate education will lead to a more secure nation; if the air we breathe and water we drink are clean, then we are a more secure nation. If the economy is healthy and booming, then we will be a more secure nation. And finally, if the U.S. has healthy relationships with diverse nations around the globe, then we are a more secure nation.”

Americans are frustrated by a political system in which the two parties refuse to work together. Republicans are steadfast that the cup is half full and the Democrats are equally steadfast that the cup is half empty.

As long as they refuse to budge from those positions, nothing will get resolved and the country and its citizens will suffer. It has been evident, any decision made on a straight party vote is likely doomed. Where is Solomon when we need him?

Look no further than the Affordable Care Act (the ACT/Obamacare). It was written and adopted on a strict party-line basis and pushed through Congress without a single Republican vote. That was a recipe for failure.

Currently we have a Republican-controlled Congress trying to do basically the same thing with the GOP version of a health care plan. Without bipartisan support, the GOP plan will be doomed to fail.

What often happens in these ego-driven situations…while striving to better a program, we make it worse, leading to a real-life tragedy.

There are parts of Obamacare that Democrats will not abandon, period. There are parts of the GOP plan that Republicans won’t budge on. Moderates on both sides need to cobble together a compromise and convince their fellow legislators that half a loaf is better than no loaf.

Any partisan legislation will be repealed or sabotaged. There needs to be a truce called on the hateful rhetoric coming from both sides. It’s juvenile and below common decency to use words that scare the living daylights out of those with pre-existing conditions, the poor, the elderly and the most vulnerable.

Now that that is settled, what are some of the other critical issues that need to be addressed by politicians committed to serving the people, and not just representing special interest groups.

Show the world and the people in America we are focused on the military conflicts around the world that pose nuclear threats. Present a united front against terrorism in the homeland, wage a concerted war on drug and alcohol abuse, help people with mental health problems, take a stand against racism, inequality, sexism and class warfare.

Economists warn us that unfunded obligations on the local, state and national levels top $120 trillion. Health care costs are soaring, our crumbling infrastructure will cost trillions of dollars to upgrade. Can these nightmare scenarios be turned into opportunities before it’s too late?

The college tuition loan debt has grown to $1.5 trillion. People have stopped making payments on their loans in hopes the government will forgive them. Open that can of worms and unleash the wrath of the people who took the responsibility for their obligations.

Prosecute people who “game the system” and commit hacking and cyber crimes at will. Government programs have gotten so big that fraud goes unchecked and government agencies just accept a 10% fraud rate as a cost of business. That amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.