One of the things Don and I learned while raising our sons was a question we had to ask ourselves from time to time when faced with a situation: Is this a hill to die on?
Some things weren’t worth fighting about with the kids. Music is an example. John and James shared a love for some strange genres, such as German metal music. While I never understood the attraction, it didn’t seem to be something to make a big deal about, as long as they didn’t torture me with it.
Food was another one. Yes, I could’ve made them sit at the table and not get up until they cleaned their plate, but to what avail? There’s a good chance that, all these years later, they’d still be at the table, staring down that plate with broccoli on it. As long as they weren’t malnourished, we didn’t cause a huge fuss. Though I did train them to thank me for the effort of cooking for them, even if they had to admit they didn’t like the offering.
But there were some issues that Don and I dug our heels in and were ready to fight long and hard over. Attending worship services was one figurative hill we chose to die on. If the boys had spent half of Saturday night playing video games, that was just too bad. We still expected them up and ready to go to services on Sunday morning. I even remember dragging one of them out of bed one morning when they protested they were too tired. It mattered enough to us to make a big deal over it, and we were fortunate that most of the time, we didn’t have to battle them over it.
I bring this up not to regale you with tales of my life as a parent, but to consider the concept of “a hill to die on.” While some things are worth not giving an inch over, others are not. Sometimes you have to save your weapons for another day, for a battle more important than the one you’re facing.
This leads me to the current situation in Washington, DC. We are enduring a partial government shutdown, because President Trump and the Democrats cannot agree about a wall along the southern border. The president wants one; the Democrats don’t.
President Trump wants the wall so badly he’s not willing to open up the parts of the government that are currently shut down. The Democrats want him to finance those areas but won’t give an inch on the wall. It is an impasse, and both sides seem to have picked this hill to die on.
My question is: Is it worth it?
Mr. President, is the wall so vital, so necessary, so important, that you are willing to toss thousands of federal employees under the bus to get it? You could give them back their jobs with a stroke of a pen – is the wall worth their livelihoods?
And Democrats: Is denying Trump the wall worth stretching this shutdown out? The very people you claim to champion will pay the price of this stalemate. You could end it by agreeing to a wall – is not giving in so important you are willing to continue to let others pay the price of a shutdown?
Sadly, I see no end in sight. Both sides are stubborn and not willing to move an inch on their stand. This shutdown will drag on, with both sides pointing fingers at each other and proclaiming that they have the high ground.
Mr. President and Democrats, is this really a hill to die on?