Every day in America thousands of police, fire and health-care personnel confront life's "unplanned" moments by responding to the chaos, crises and catastrophes that threaten the public.

Meanwhile, our elected representatives in Washington continue to engage in a self-inflicted debt ceiling crisis marked by blame, bluff and who will blink first before the nation suffers devastating and permanent consequences.

We, the people, deserve better. Now is the time for leadership. Let the politicians follow the example of our public service heroes.

Mark McElwee, Catonsville