Congress reached a new low this week, with the Tea Party Republicans stubbornly shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare to the uninitiated. Only 10% of Americans have a favorable impression of congress right now; and I think we can safely assume that 10% consists of the Tea Party majority we’ve all heard so much about.
Except it isn’t really a majority, is it? In what representative government ever does a 10% constituency get to dictate to the rest of us? Sure, they are louder, angrier, more stubborn and single-minded than the average voter; but we’re not supposed to have rule by bully here.
We’re supposed to have a constitutional republic. You know how it works – we elect Senators and Representatives who propose, debate and pass legislation. Our President, also elected, signs the proposed legislation and it becomes law. Sometimes, citizens request a legal review of laws that are controversial – so we have a Supreme Court to assist us. The ACA has been through this entire process. It’s been debated, voted on, passed, signed and upheld by the Supreme Court. It’s a law – whether 10% of us like it or not. And it’s time to implement that law.
But wait! What about that 10% that approves of this Congress? Aren’t they important, too? What about what they think? They’ve got about 30-40 congressmen on their side, led by Ted Cruz. That’s out of 435 Representatives. As they love to tell us, they were elected, too. They are winners, too. That means they get their way. That means they can dig their heels in and drag this country through the mud if they want to. They can do crazy things like vote 40+ times to repeal the ACA and if that doesn’t work, they can try to tie defunding the ACA to a continuing resolution to fund our government. And they have been perfectly clear: the only continuing resolution they will vote in favor of is one that defunds the ACA. Consequences be damned.
Oh, and by the way….it’s everyone else’s fault, especially Barack Obama’s, that they were “forced” into shutting down our government. After all, anyone who won’t dance to their tune is an obstructionist who refuses to negotiate.
But please don’t think that the Tea Party deserves 100% of the credit for this spectacle. They had every reason to think their fellow non-Tea Republicans could be browbeaten and threatened into going along with them. Congressional Republicans have been caving to the Tea Party since 2008. No wonder they think they get to rule the roost!
This government shutdown is the culmination of a 7 year Republican temper tantrum. They just have not been able to wrap their brains around a guy like Barack Obama being elected President. They’ve tried every childish, disrespectful, petty, mean-spirited tactic they could think of to discredit him and his presidency and it’s led to the worst Congress in my lifetime and arguably, in the last century.
It’s time to put all of them in a fence encased sandbox and not let them out until they agree to stop this nonsense.
Hold the line, Democrats. The sane citizens of this country are counting on you.