Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Chasm That Will Not Be Bridged

The Good Lord really knew what He was doing when He created the two lead characters in the current political mess.  On the one hand, we have Mr. Bluster, John Boehner, king of the Basset hound look and the crocodile tears.  On the other, we have a white man inside a black man's skin who is quite used to strife.

Both men are promising they won't negotiate. Both are "stuck between a rock and a hard place".  And as a result, the citizens of this country cannot seem to win.

When you understand that many long-time Republicans in Congress believe that the crisis after crisis stalemate should not go on, it is hard to explain how the Speaker of the House keeps getting himself into his binds.

This Week interviewed Speaker Boehner Sunday morning.  They showed a clip filmed after the recent Presidential election where Boehner is admitting that the election results left no doubt that the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) was now law.  Yet, here he is in October, 2013, still fighting the Affordable Care Act.  You recall that this is the Affordable Care Act that is now in effect.  You remember it -- the law that was passed and signed into law several years back.  The very one that despite righteous indignation of a vocal minority of Americans was upheld by the Supreme Court.  The law we are discussing was apparently accepted, if not welcomed warmly, by a majority of Americans who reelected the President who signed it into law and whose name is often used in a nickname for the law.

At least one critic of this law defended her position in an unusual way.  She was reminded during the last election that her candidate was opposed to the insurance law even though it was modeled after the act he had signed into law while he was governor of his state.  Her response was, but the people of his state got to vote for that law.  They had a say in whether it was passed.

Well, voting on every law Congress designs probably isn't feasible.  It certainly wasn't at the time our country was being formed.  Our forefathers designed and structured our governing system in a manner that excluded the need for a popular vote on every issue.  The way that Americans have a say in what laws we have is by whom we elect to run our government.  During the last election, we sent out a quite schizophrenic message.  We elected a liberal Democrat as President, by a reasonably respectable majority.  We elected a Democratic Senate, though not with such resounding enthusiasm.  And we elected a Republican/Libertarian/Tea Party majority in The House of Representatives.

All this, of course, is not new information.  But it is the cause of the great divide and our inability to get around our stalemate.  Chaos and confusion are so high in our own ranks that those whom we elected don't know what to do.  So, we are left with a bunch of zealots who won't budge an inch on principle.  We are stuck with a Speaker of the House too stuborn to even let the current budget crisis go to vote.  And we have a President with personal family experience of being victimized by money greedy insurance companies.  He also represents a party that tried for over six decades to protect the American public by enacting just such a law.  And who is right?  Well, certainly not the American public that is screaming out against being protected.  Certainly not the special interest groups that have circulated lies and rumors about the law.  And certainly not the hard-core politicians that will flush the whole country down the drain in order to get their own way.

Boehner, who has been refusing actual negotiation himself, sounded like a broken record last Sunday.  He kept saying that the President and the Democrats would have to agree to sit down for a discussion or his party would not move.  Let me define Boehner's apparent definition of discussion for you here.  The Democrats have to agree to blink . . . then he will hold talks . . . then the Democrats will cave again    . . .  then he will hold a vote.  Really Mr. Speaker, we hired you all to work out the kinks.  We did not hire you to refuse to even take a vote to see if anybody wants the law.  You won't know for sure how your own party feels about the situation until you permit the majority of the House to demonstrate it's wishes.  Then if the budget that does not include an axe of the ACA fails, you go back to the drawing board.  If it does not fail, we restore government services to all Americans.  And you and the Tea Party representatives might get to come back for another term.

But if you cannot build a bridge over that chasm and the two parties cannot work out the kinks, then you have all failed at the job we hired you to do.  Remember, sir, that you work for us, you do not work for you.  And we, the American people, expect you to see that you do not destroy the country you were hired to protect.  Quite frankly, war might be easier than the current divide, and you already know how we feel about war.

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