There is a certain brilliance in the everyday workings of the government in our Democracy. They are a testament to the foresight of our founding fathers and a continued legacy to what make us a great country. From the beginnings of the legislative process, to the hearings, to the debates, the votes and the ultimate passage of a bill before it goes to the President for signature, each step can be considered an affirmation of freedom and a perfect example of open participation by all. Whether it is testifying in front of a panel, speaking out during public comment or lobbying an elected official, we all participate in the process and invest our Democracy with our voices and opinions.
To see a government shutdown due to the intent by the Republicans to de-fund the Affordable Health Care Act is dumbfounding and disconcerting. After hearings were held, hundreds of amendments were made, a final vote was taken, a signature by President Obama , a Supreme Court decision rendered in favor of the act and an election was fought over it, one would imagine that the focus would shift to either fix what should be fixed or implement it well.
It is understandable that in the era of captions, spin and ideological line drawing, the truth of the benefits of an act of Congress could be lost but even at a basic level the Health Care affordable Act is a great positive for our country. Just on the basis of not being able to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition, the equality of man and women getting charged the same amount for the same coverage, the ability to cover a family member until they are 26 or no charges for preventive care the Act is a brilliant, equitable and the right step towards recognizing Health care as a right and not a privilege.
Maybe that is where the problem lies for the Republicans. The usage of the word "right" might be too hard a pill to swallow when it diminishes the ability for medical conglomerates and companies to maximize their profit or when it stops the marginalization of people of color and of low income status. One would think that in the land of the free and equal justice for all, the advancement of everyone would not be considered a detriment but an obligation.
Hence why we come to the shutdown and all the machinations by the Republicans to de-fund, postpone, falsely advertise through fear its intent and vote to repeal "Obama Care" 40 times. Lets attach to a continuing resolution to fund the government a provision to de-fund, repeal and postpone the Act and by such means continue to argue the debate, litigate the passage and fight the lost election. That does not sound like a viable plan but it did to the Republican controlled House of Representatives yesterday.
Denial, inability to accept the voices of the electorate or a blinding march of passion fueled by the anger of a lost argument can certainly make intelligent people loose their ability to analytically and logically look at something and change their minds. We have always been a country of extremes and even though we have continued to surpass all expectations and advance our union forward, it has never been easy or by logical means. We fought a civil war to stop slavery, we marched to give civil rights to those we fought to enslave out of economical greediness and we continue to litigate via our Constitution the rights that should easily be given to all of us.
Yes, Health Care is a right because it is tied to "all created equal", " justice and freedom for all" as well as "the pursuit of happiness". One cannot attain either one of this from a poverty line, a homeless shelter or a bankruptcy court due to medical expenses.What makes a country great is its ability to offer to everyone the benefits of an advanced society; and that is education, healthcare, public safety, the rule of law and equality for all of its citizens.
I always cringe at the phrase " being on the wrong side of history" as it sounds to me like an ominous assertion of an intentional loss of rationale, an inability to look beyond ourselves and a strong denial of the humanity of everyone around us. One can not expect security of employment, health, education and dwelling for oneself and loved ones and look sideways with denial to everyone expecting to have the same. That is definitely not the definition of the "American way" as defined by pundits, political elected officials or any self affirmed patriot. Unless the "American way" means you are on your own, not everyone has the same rights or if you want something you can either fight for it or fight hard to get it. One can not climb the ladder if the opportunities are not there.
The government shutdown with the intent to continue to fight a lost battle is selfish, disingenuous and an affront to the way government should work. I believe the minority ( since the Republican party only controls the house and not the Senate or the Presidency) has a responsibility and a the right to fight a battle and strongly oppose changes it thinks are detrimental to the nation as a whole, but to add health care and equality of coverage to the list of fights is a false banner. The Republicans should no attempt this fight since the Act is geared to balance the equation and expand a benefit. Then it is not a righteous fight but a childish endeavor based on the wrong ideology and lack of foresight.
The following are several critical functions the shutdown will affect:
1. Furloughs: As many as 800,000 across the nation of critical federal employees and their support systems in the DOJ, DOD, DOE and other departments.
2. EPA will be strongly diminished in its regulatory obligations due to not being bale to pay inspectors etc.:
3. Food safety will be compromised due to lack of inspections at farms, kill factories and processing plants
To put it bluntly Mr. Speaker: we have bigger fish to fry than to continue to fight the last election and the implementation of a much needed program for all Americans by resorting to extreme measures. Trying to affect changes to something already fully decided because an intransigent faction of your caucus demands it; is poor leadership.
Mr. Speaker: True leadership is expressed by remaining calm when standing in the middle of the maelstrom and looking at the members of your party straight in the eye and saying "Enough is enough. This has been decided. We have bigger issues as a nation to deal with. Opposing change for opposition sake is not a platform or a vision".
Maybe the fear is the possible loss of position and leadership. Until you decide to do what is best for all Americans Mr. Speaker and not only for the party demagogues then you will not be a true Speaker of the House but just another political clown.