The Republican Party of the United States with its large Tea Party wing could once be excused for being imperfect and acting for crass political gain just like the Democratic Party. You know, that they all act like that and a pox on both your houses. After all, we are all mortal beings on this Earth. We sin against God. We are all broken beings to some degree. We also share the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we need and all those things that are essential for a meaningful life held within the larger public safety and the common good of all.
For the first time, in the past months since they lost the 2012 Presidential Election, the GOP has been going berserk. It is no longer the least bit sane and rational. It does not act in the national interest of the United States and its people. This is not due to its long-time ideology being beyond the pale and unacceptable in the give-and-take of American politics. We’ve accepted the distinct rightward shift on the political spectrum of Tea Party politics though as moral beings we are free to express our profound disagreement with it.
Standing with enormous symbolic meaning for the people of this nation is the cutting of $40 billion in Food Stamps from the poorest among us who could not possibly get enough to eat simply from private charity or food banks that work so hard to provide. The characterization of Food Stamps as being so valuable that the poor and unemployed have no incentive to work and are not deserving or in need is not only an untruth but it is completely irrational. For at the very same time, the wealthiest corporate farmers got more subsidies that while welcome are not needed for their survival. Food Stamps are such a thing for the poor in this nation numbering around 46 million of us.
The fellow that killed a dozen government employees at the Navy Yard in yet another mass shooting seems no different. He heard voices coming out of the walls into his head, he heard them coming out of his microwave. He had to move three times to a third hotel to make them stop. He at least accurately recorded what he was experiencing and cried out for help. But shooting and killing a dozen people who he did not know was and is totally irrational and insane. So too the Republicans behavior this fall. Perhaps we should prefer the Navy Yard shooter to what is transpiring among GOP Republicans.
The GOP knowing full well the real, actual and individual harmful effects of what it is set to do this fall, a government shutdown and a default on the nation’s debts, is content to go through with both of them no matter what. That is madness personified. The oft quoted “he who God wishes to destroy him first makes mad” is with great precision what we are speaking about.
A government shutdown for a few days, a couple of weeks, or a month would be a hardship to many, but not terribly damaging. But anything longer than that would be a catastrophe. Government employees with families would go unpaid. That includes military families especially. And the spill off effects on the economy would be quite noticeable and it would be obvious who is responsible.
A breaching of the required raising of the debt ceiling, where our government covers its current debts and not undertaking a penny of new debt would be far more serious. It is certain that the economic recovery as weak as it has been would be over. It would tank the economy and Wall Street and could really provoke a worldwide banking collapse as it is the United States and its backing of international currencies that is the key cog in the international financial market all over the globe. It would be a collapse as a house of cards or a row of financial dominoes. It would produce incalculable harm to people who are innocent of these histrionics and temper tantrums by a political party that puts its interests well above the nation’s and dare we say the peoples all around the world we are so interconnected with economically now.
Job loss, business failures, runaway inflation as our money is worthless, all during a slowdown in economic activity would be the least of our worries.
Why must they do this? It is to force President Obama and the Democrats to de-fund or repeal or delay Obamacare, the Healthcare Affordability Act. The President of the United States is chiefly charged with carrying out the laws of the land—enforcing them. The Healthcare Affordability Act is the law of the land. As you’ve heard and they have heard again and again, the law was passed by both Houses of Congress when the Democrats had the majority everywhere. President Obama signed it properly into law.
Just as properly, when a large number of States and their peoples disagree with the constitutionality of a law they may challenge that law. 19 States Attorney’s General did just that. The U.S. Supreme Court that never always does what the individual citizen wants on any side ruled with finality that the law was constitutional and stands as the supreme law of the United States of America.
In past eras of our history, the losing political faction would wait until with an election won they could repeal that law or amend it to their satisfaction. That is not the case as of yet. It could be in December of 2014. Or, it might not. Then too, there is the unwillingness to honor what the rest of the American people want in their support for the legislators who enacted it, and the President who signed it into law and as shown by the results of the lawful 2012 Presidential Election.
Our elections not only elect persons to fill offices that are elective in our Republic, but they help make decisions about public policy too. Obama’s re-election and the retention of the U.S. Senate by the Democratic Party in a year when they should have lost that body said emphatically that things like Obamacare were now the law and at least temporarily it was time to move on to other yet to be settled issues.
But Republicans won’t do that. It would be the rational, fair, and the move most in line with the national interest of all of us; that is the common or public good. Millions of people are anxiously waiting to sign up for health insurance for the first time in a long time or maybe it is the very first time.
There is also what is wisest in how we govern our nation and how we make laws. No political party should attempt to extort a policy change by being willing and actually doing great harm to the nation to get their way when they have surrendered it via elections, our Constitution and the precedents set by our lawmaking bodies and that bothersome public or common good of the nation.
To toss the fair faith and credit of the United States and our economy in the tank because you failed to get your way on the Healthcare Affordability Act is selfish, peevish, insane, and yes acting to directly harm the United States. Doing THAT for any reason is not only un-American, but it may be depending as to how it occurs actually traitorous to the nation.
Seeing so many Republicans who have been entrusted by voters with acting not only on their wishes but in seeing to the larger best interests of the nation as a whole have abandoned that responsibility to such an extent that it is criminal. There are times when an elected official has to be one of the adults in the room. They must act in ways that sometimes differ with their constituents who may be just plain angry as hell and acting like spoiled children who are holding a plunger connected to C4 charges set on the walls of the national edifice. But here, the people most able to act responsibly are in truth the children and the worst offenders. For it is they who will blow everything up by pushing down that plunger on the box connected to those explosives.
The GOP is in truth prepared to help us all drink the poison Kool-Aid, to commit Hari-Kari, to blow our collective national brains out in a self-inflicted possibly fatal wound.
That is truly insane. But here we are. That is the point we have reached. President Obama and the Democrats would like nothing better than to work on further deficit reductions and re-designing the Medicare and Medicaid programs for the future. They are ready to adjust and trim the budget to make the necessary spending reductions but in a way less harmful to the very people they serve and are responsible to.
If President Obama and the Democrats were to be forced to give in; to repeal or amend Obamacare by delaying its implementation still further a precedent would be set whereby either or any political party strong enough could do this act of extortion concerning any law or public issue before the people. We are not talking about simple horse-trading as it is done when our lawmakers practice real politics: the art of compromise. It is simply madness for one faction to threaten the wellbeing of citizens to get their way and deny others who have won the day with legality and probity to have what is justly theirs.
That is the kind of extortion this is. “Do what we want or we will do something that badly harms human beings and sets off a real tragedy, and we are willing to do this needlessly.” They may as well filibuster the Senate with automatic weapons and nukes. That would make as much sense. So it is not the President or Democrats in Congress who bring us to this precipice. Mark that. Know that without doubt no matter your political beliefs or desires.
This dysfunctional and now berserk and insane GOP threatens all of us. It is not just sad, worrying and unnecessary but it begins to move into the realm of the truly evil. The members of the Republican Party must somehow re-possess their sanity in enough strength to help Democrats from seeing the nation we love and to our horror and sadness they do not love enough, go over that precipice of national doom and despair.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
For Struggles for Justice