I’ve been meaning to say something about this, but I’ve been dealing with some health issue for the last few days which has made my thinking and writing process a little slow. Fortunately, I’m one of the people who is lucky enough to have insurance already. But I still wanted to get my opinion on record here, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
There’s a lot of arguing going on over the current government shutdown. And a lot of that arguing is grossly misinformed, and very much along the political lines that have divided the U.S. in recent years. I’ve made it clear in the past that I don’t have much love for the Democrats because they sold their souls along time ago. But let’s get something out of the way, and I’ll explain why: This is a Republican shutdown of the government, and they are solely responsible for it, not the Democrats.
As many know, this shutdown occurred because of a refusal to negotiate the Affordable Care Act (AFC), more commonly referred to as Obamacare. There’s just one problem with this previous statement: There’s nothing to negotiate.
The AFC was created and voted in by representatives who were elected by the people. The voters kept a lot of these people in office, including the President. The law was challenged in the Supreme Court and upheld. The AFC is law, voted in by representatives of the people and determined to be Constitutional.
So, what do the Republicans do? They act like petulant children and when they can’t win by following the rules of the game like everyone else, they throw the game board up in the air and storm out of the room.
There were constant complaints that the Democrats in the Senate and the President were refusing to negotiate over this (not that the President really has much to do with what was going on in the legislative branch, but whatever). But, again, there was nothing to negotiate. It was already voted in, signed into law, and passed the Supreme Court. So, instead the GOP essentially takes the government hostage.
There have been a number of teabagger Republicans who have are now lauding this move as what they’ve been working toward all along and there’s strong evidence that this is indeed the case. Republicans have been proposing resolutions to support individual portions of the government. In other words, the parts they want to keep. If you remember back during the 2012 election cycle, several Republicans openly stated departments that they wanted shut down. Since they couldn’t do that directly, they have instead shut the whole thing down and are attempting to revive only the parts they want. Hence the reason the Democrats are fighting on this, because if they give on this point, the Republicans have no reason to negotiate anymore.
Leading up to it, I think it was pretty clear that people didn’t really understand what a shutdown of the government actually meant. The name itself sounds like all that’s happening is that the legislature simply won’t be in session and not get paid. Actually, the exact opposite is the case. Their pay is secure during the shutdown. A more apt name for it would be a shutdown of federal programs. Programs that support children and the needy. Programs that keep national parks and monuments open. Programs that are cleaning up toxic sites. And furloughing the low level workers, so they are forced to stay home without pay, or in some cases continue to work with no pay. The only people getting hurt by this are the little guy. If there is ever going to be a time where the Two Americas concept is going to come to the forefront, it will be now.
There are now reports of dissent in the Republican ranks and that a majority of the House is willing to vote on a clean resolution to end the shutdown. However, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), our illustrious and orange Speaker of the House, refuses to bring such a resolution to a vote. Again, petulant children, attempting to implement a tyranny of the minority, and quite literally holding the livelihood of millions hostage for their demands. In most other contexts, the GOP would have likely been declared a terrorist organization by now. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but it’s not that far off.
So, when people try to blame the Democrats and the President for not negotiating, it’s concerning that there’s not much of an understand of the political process. Again, there was nothing to negotiate. The law was created and voted in using the established and agreed upon rules of the Constitution that they so claim to love. Except when it’s inconvenient, like now.