While eating my lunch, I’ve been reading various news sources about the shutdown, and it firmly cements my belief that we’ve sent children to Washington:
- On the surface, this is a fight over “Obamacare”, with the House contingent firmly stating the people don’t want it? The problem, of course, is that is not true. When people are asked about the specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, they like what they hear. Some people don’t like the ACA not because they don’t want the government involved in healthcare, but they want the government more involved in healthcare — they believe a single payer system that gets rid of the insurance companies would be better. Lastly, the main controversial portion of health care is the mandate for everyone to get insurance … but if you understand the insurance game, having not only the sick buy insurance is critical to being able to insure for pre-existing conditions.
- I also see people saying the House is only representing their districts. They claim that this is how our nation works — that the representatives represent the will of the people. Of course, this is only true when they want it to be true. Representatives come from engineered districts to give one party or another the majority; the elected representatives tend not to present the opinions of those not from their party. Further, the way the caucuses in the House have been working is that a small number of districts have been holding the entire house hostage, refusing to move anything forward unless they got their way. That’s bullying. Further, by doing this, they are not serving the nation. What makes our government strong is having representatives who do the right thing for the country, even if it isn’t the right thing for their districts. If we had had this form of minority tyranny, we would never have abolished slavery, never have passed civil rights legislation, never moved this country in the direction of equality. Luckily, we’ve had people who stood up for what was right.
- This is being portrayed as the President refusing to negotiate. But is that true? Once you read and understand the Republican strategy in the House, you’ll see that the party that does not want to negotiate is the House, not the Senate. The House will not accept any concessions unless they get 100% their way, and this has been their plan all along.
Despite what the Libertarians will say, this shutdown is not a good thing. Yes, the military is still there, but significantly impared. I know that the folks that I work with on a daily basis are not there. I’d tell you to convey your feelings on this to your congresscritter, but (a) I don’t believe they would listen, and (b) the staffers that would handle the responses won’t necessarily be there. All we can do is hope the moderates figure out how to resolve this.
[ETA: And now the latest report is that that GOP will try to piecemeal fund the government, starting with the “popular” parts. That’s like a child thinking their diet can consist only of the tasty candy, with none of those nasty vegetables (seeing the doctor) or nutrients (taxes) we need to have a healthy life. Congress is not supposed to be a child — they are supposed to be parental, doing what is right for the people they are serving, not just what is popular.]
[ETA #2: I forgot to mention this opinion piece regarding Gingrich the Newt. It talks about how Newt’s support for the current shutdown shows he’s forgotten 17 years ago, but it concludes with a great lesson the House needs to learn:
Seventeen years ago, then-Speaker Gingrich had a moment of fleeting clarity as he tried to impose control on his conservative House colleagues who were urging him toward a shutdown. He reminded them that any successful budget plan had to also make it through the Senate, not just the House of Representatives.
“We’ve checked the Constitution,” he said. “And for the rest of the session, there’s going to be a Senate. We’ve checked! It’s going to be there.”