OPINION – It would be very easy to take the populist approach and start firing salvos at the entire Congress right now over this government shutdown mess.
There are a lot of people who are taking a middle ground, laying blame at the feet of both parties.
We have had a number of instances in the last 40 years where the blame could have and should have been doled out equally.
This is not one of those times.
The bottom line on all of this is actually quite simple.
The Republicans are still smarting over having lost the Affordable Care Act battle.
The fact is, the bill passed in the House of Representatives, it passed in the U.S. Senate, it was signed by the President of the United States and enacted into law, and it survived a Supreme Court test.
What more does it take?
The Republicans lost on this particular piece of legislation and the Democrats won.
Nobody railroaded this bill through, it didn’t come by decree, it went through the same channels as any other bill that is passed into law in this country.
If you don’t like it, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is done here; how it always has been done here. There was nothing unconstitutional about it, nothing illegal, nothing underhanded. You may not like it, you may think it is horrible legislation, but that does not mean that it came into being in an unusual manner. The votes were cast, the bill was passed.
Ever since, the GOP has been licking its wounds and plotting its revenge.
It held out on a debt ceiling crisis until the last minute. It shut down the government last week, all because of a piece of legislation intended to provide a decent level of health care to everybody in this nation, regardless of income, pre-existing conditions, or age.
There are a lot of laws I disagree with as well but I can’t think of one of them that is worth shutting down the government to overturn. You simply take to the election booth next time around and vote for people who will represent your point of view. If they don’t win the majority in the House and Senate, well, that’s the nature of the federal government.
This latest GOP tantrum, spearheaded by Speaker of the House John Boehner, is an example of just how willing Republicans are to trash the country in this effort to get back at President Obama for whatever reasons they hold deep in their heads.
It happened when the GOP strung out the American people over extending unemployment benefits during the run-up to the Christmas season several years ago. We saw it when they strung out the decision on the debt ceiling.
Unfortunately, this political and highly personal vendetta against the president is manifesting itself in an ugly manner on the news channels, in social media, and what used to be called polite company.
The thing is, these petty little actions of the Republican Party do nothing but show contempt for the Constitution and the democratic process.
Instead of swallowing their bitter pill and girding their loins for a tough midterm election, they have plotted a course of obstructionism, which is doing nothing but adding to the voter fatigue that has already infected this country.
There have been a lot of different reactions to all of this, of course, including some acts of civil disobedience where people have scaled the barriers set up in front of our National Parks.
“This is the people’s land,” they say, and rightfully so.
However, the people’s land is fraught with danger. There’s a reason why they employ park rangers and crews to provide services at the parks, from security to cleanup operations.
But, that doesn’t seem to matter.
In fact, the fires were fanned by Washington Times columnist Wesley Pruden, who in a recent opinion column, alleged this quote from an anonymous national park ranger: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
The quote is highly suspicious.
First, it comes from the extremely conservative Washington Times, which has been horribly inaccurate in what it reports about President Obama, from his faith to campaign finances. Just check out the Snopes.com website or do a Google search.
Secondly, do you really believe an executive order would include such language or instructions, especially with the leaks that find their way into the media?
And those grandstanding pictures of wheelchair-bound vets showing up outside of national park barriers? A typical GOP tactic. When all else fails, bring God or military veterans into the picture, whether relevant or not.
I understand, of course. The religious right and military veterans pack a lot of votes, which, in the end, is the most important part of politics, regardless of what it does to the nation.
But, this is a large, diverse nation, with needs that extend far beyond the narrow vision and grasp of the Republican Party.
The basics – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – have been chipped away at as a result of bad economic decisions instituted more than a dozen years ago; a seemingly endless war that has broken us financially and emotionally; a turn-around in priorities, leaving the working men and women of this nation at the bottom of the heap, subject to the wants, needs, and desires of an elite upper class that continues to exploit their hard work for outrageous and inequitable financial gain.
There are a lot of reasons to be disgusted with all of Congress, but this isn’t one of them.
So, be careful before you start pointing fingers.
And, please, be civil about which one you use when singling out who is to blame here.
No bad days!
- Shutdown: ‘Paralysis in Washington’ causes counties to ask governor for aid
- Perspectives: To make our live as difficult as they can
- Shutdown: ‘Occupy Zion’ protesters defy national park gates
- Shutdown: Visitors ignore closure order, Grand Canyon National Park reacts with closure of Highway 64
- Shutdown impacts Springdale, Washington County tourism
- Bryce Canyon businesses say ‘it’s hurting bad;’ impact of government shutdown, alternatives for tourists – Includes alternatives for tourists
- Shutdown: Zion National park closes, what else is affected? – Includes alternatives for tourists
- Utah congressmen speak to government shutdown
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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