Tag Archives: republicans

Pardon My Politics: Shut It Down!

ThumbnailI’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.

Pardon My Politics: Why I Voted Green

ThumbnailNote: I’m writing this while sick with some kind of stomach bug, so while I have what, in my mind, are rather cogent arguments, I wrote this in a hurry and may not have expressed myself in the best possible manner. I may come back and revisit it when I’m feeling better, but I want to publish this while it was still relevant.

I want to talk about politics for once. It’s something I generally avoid doing. It’s not that I don’t like politics. If anything, I’m something of a political junkie. It’s more that I don’t think most people care about it that much (at least in many conversations I’ve had) and that they care even less about my opinion. Sure, I’ll do the occasional funny quip on Twitter, or repost something on Facebook that’s so on the nose that I have a sick compulsion to do so, but generally, I keep my opinions to myself or directed to a very select group.

However, this once, I’m breaking my rule because I want to explain my strategic decision to vote Green in the 2012 election cycle.

To start, I don’t live in a swing state. California is pretty much a guarantee to go for Obama and the Democrats. So, I’m not putting anything at risk.

Usually, voting for a third party is accepted as a protest vote. It’s not really going to swing an election (there’s some debate about that in 2000, but I’m not going into that here), and it’s mostly done to make a point. Admittedly, my vote isn’t all that different when boiled down.

I don’t have anything personal against Obama, per se. I’m one of those people who is not all that disappointed with him, but probably for different reasons. It’s more that I didn’t have high expectations for him back in 2008. I’ve been through this before, and I recognized his words as, albeit inspiring, were ultimately not much more than campaign rhetoric. There has been a continuation of damaging Bush-era policies, and people claim that we had Wall Street reform, but I’m not sure what they’re talking about on that front. Now, I will grant that he has been hampered by a virulent and uncompromising Republican party who has systematically kept recovery efforts down in an effort to make Obama look bad. That’s not an exaggeration. That was actually their stated goal.

Which leads to the Romney/Ryan ticket. This ticket really seemed like a bad joke, and to be honest, I don’t get it. I don’t understand how a campaign can be run with such illogical and flat-out false statements, with a total disregard for reason or even basic math. And I don’t get why they have the support they do. I mean, if you’re part of the super-rich in this country, I get it. Romney’s your man, and you probably couldn’t get a better candidate who represents your interests. But I don’t understand anyone else voting for him. I don’t get how this many people are being convinced to vote against their own interests. Romney and Ryan are not your friend, and their policies will not help you or the country. The policies they’re promoting are what got us into this mess in the first place.

So, why did I vote for Jill Stein? Simply because the Green Party platform lines up the most with my own weighted values (based on how important each one is to me), making them what I’m ironically calling the “politically moral choice.” I decided to vote my conscience and inline with my values, not simply to vote for the lesser of two evils.

I hear the argument all the time that you’re just throwing your vote away by voting for a third party, or that you’re hurting the better candidate by taking votes away from them. Honestly, I’m tired of hearing it. If those candidates represented my values and stances, I would vote for them. The way I see it, third party candidates aren’t stealing votes, but rather the big two lost them because they refuse to address issues that are important to a number of people. And honestly, I think we could actually benefit from a European style parliamentary system with representation from third parties forcing the creation of alliances and coalitions between parties, creating truly productive compromise.

I’m not voting Democratic because the Democrats don’t represent me. The Democrats haven’t been a liberal party since the 1970s, despite what Fox News would have you believe. In fact, I find the Republicans more honest, At least they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re working for the rich and for big business. The Democrats, on the other hand, are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. They pretend that they’re working for the little guy, when in fact they’re working for the same people the Republicans are.

I have no illusions that the Greens will win. It would be nice if they could get 5 percent of the vote. It would even be nice if Gary Johnson and the Libertarians win 5 percent, as it would be advantageous to see a return of Eisenhower Republicanism to the political conversation. I doubt that will happen. But my vote for the Greens is a vote of conscience and a vote for representation rather than resignation.