Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Government shutdown is teaching our children the wrong lessons

I’m not one to often weigh in publicly on political matters, because honestly it’s a dirty business and if you hold a strong, consistent ideological belief, left or right – you’re probably wrong. Our world isn’t left or right. People – normal people – don’t think that way. 

I wholeheartedly believe in free speech and the legal process of passing (and enacting) a law. But this government shutdown is out of bounds.  And sorry peeps, I blame the GOP leadership, who I really want to root for. Am I wrong? You may think so, and I’m OK with that. Reasonable people disagree. Reasonable.

When in 2010 our elected leaders passed a health care law it was apocalyptic to some. Holy crap, you’re going to need to secure health insurance or pay a fine. Our president is a socialist. The sky fell and we all died. Wait. That didn’t happen. In fact when the health insurance marketplaces opened on Oct. 2, millions of people signed up - people who couldn’t secure coverage on their own previously. These are people who need it.

Will this law in some way cost me more money? Quite possibly. Are there big unknowns? Oh, yeah. That may mean you don’t like it. That’s OK. Pay the fine and live your life. It’ll cost you $95 next year to avoid this “hellish” safety net that they rest of us call health insurance. Whoa, buddy! Stay away! Granted, these penalties go up each year, but I suspect that as people find value in the new health care system that they will chose to join in and enjoy the benefits.

OK, let’s assume you totally disagree with me. Good. That’s OK. Now, let’s assume you’re a GOP lawmaker deciding to pass legislation that funds nearly the whole government.  This is how I imagine the conversation goes:

GOP leader 1: “I don’t like this Obamacare thing. It’s no good.”
GOP leader 2: “Then let’s make sure the country goes into the crapper by not funding Obamacare or anything else that our citizens want.”
GOP leader 1: “Sweet. I’ll get right on that. I mean, doing nothing of course.”

The law passed three years ago. President Obama got reelected during that time and he didn’t hide this law. If the country didn’t want this – sorry, majority rules here – then they would have voted for the other guy. Same goes for elected representatives in the House and Senate.

The GOP is playing dirty. They can’t repeal Obamacare, so they are holding back funding for it, whole also holding back funding for much of the rest of the government. Seriously? It’s like a little kid flipping over a game of checkers when he knows he can’t win. It won’t help him win; it just makes him a sore loser who accomplishes nothing.

My solution: Man up. Make the law you hate into a better one. Don’t torpedo the law, the government and the economy because you are too ideologically entrenched to try something different.

The GOP should imagine explaining their actions to a child. What lesson does that teach a child?  If you don’t get your way, you can simply sabotage the other kids. Damn the consequences.

I often vote republican. I tend to lean that direction. Heck, I have even voted for Cathy McMorris Rodgers, my Republican Congresswoman since the first time she ran. Read her opinion here. She’s now one of these people I’m not too pleased with. But this shouldn’t be a red vs. blue issue. It’s a USA issue. This isn’t how we’re supposed to do things. I think we can all agree on that.  

So here’s my challenge to all lawmakers: feel accomplished when you leave office. Feel good about what you got done. If your biggest achievement is flipping over the checkerboard, then you’ve not been successful.  

1 comment:

  1. What we really need is for reasonable GOP members who are being bullied by the fringe to stand up for themselves. So what if the Tea Party has some clout, if moderate republicans stood with democrats and the president, just one time for this issue, we could have avoided a shutdown. The reality we face is that politics in our country have simply gotten to the point where people are in government for the sake of being in government, and it all comes down to the fact that career politicians fear for their job security like everyone else does. We need people with guts and confidence to stand up and say, "No! This is wrong I will not go along with it for the sake a vote!"