As the recalcitrant Republicans jihadists are (so far) successful in achieving their goals of shuttering the government and “starving the beast” this experience validates two critical axioms about our representative democracy style of government, and they together show how prophetic Winston Churchill really was.
The first is when it works well be ready for all hell to break loose, or, as in the current case of Egypt, be careful you get what you ask for. The Tea Party extremists in the House are doing exactly what they said they would when they were elected. http://www.huffingtonpost.com. Isn't that how it’s supposed to work? They did not (generally) campaign on deception to get elected. Both the good and bad news is they were pretty damn honest about whom they were and what they wanted to do if elected.
The second is the darker side of Democracy, at least as practiced in America. It allows, even rewards gerrymandering and the creation of “safe” districts where reason and diversity are absent from the electoral process and the result is the election of “bomb throwers”. In addition, this completely embarrassing episode (from my present vantage point in Europe I am trying especially hard right now NOT to be identified as an American for fear of having to explain this ridiculousness) is the inevitable result of a uninformed and apathetic electorate – aka., ourselves.
This group of 20-30 radical anti-government Tea Partiers who are holding our governing system hostage ostensibly because they can’t stand the notion of the incredibly placid, barely-an-inch-forward piece of sausage called The Affordable Heath Care Act, were legally elected – by those who showed up on election day in 2010.
The electoral participation rate (eerily similar to the percentage of people covered by health insurance) in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the “developed” world. http://en.wikipedia.org/. Compared to other "developed" countries our participation rate in nothing short of embarrassing. elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2010G.html. I am constantly shocked at the level of knowledge and understanding of the Dutch about American politics. If only Americans were half as engaged and aware of our own governing system. This is exactly what happens when people disengage from our electoral system.
There is wisdom and great advice in the old adage: “don’t complain if you didn’t vote”.