We did not clam up like the iconic sea creature and bury ourselves in the mud after the 9/11 attacks, although many still argue for withdrawing our national entirely from world affairs.
We did not shutter and dynamite the banks and Wall Street Tycoon offices as the world economy was imploding as a result of incompetent greed, although many citizens would have gleefully lit the fuses.
We do not close down forever our regions devastated by natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and flash floods and fires.
Airliners do not fall from the sky when the latest airline files bankruptcy.
We keep on transacting, cleaning up, living, and flying.
Why is the federal government so damn different?
There is no reason on Earth why the United States of America, the number one economic, military, and social force on the planet, should be shut down just so a tiny group of petulant politicians can foment the civil war underway in this country.
There is plenty of blame to spread around for this unnecessary standoff.
Republicans have not negotiated in good faith. They are experts in moving the goalposts. During the Obamacare debates, they pushed back hard, agreed to all the key elements of the program, forced the Democrats to drop the single payer then public option approaches – and voted against the program, which was their plan from the start. They had no intentions of voting for it. Therefore all their negotiations were in bad faith – even though Republicans and conservatives dreamed up the idea of mandatory health care insurance policies. The GOP, whipped and ridden hard by their own internal Tea Party faction, are doing the same with the government shutdown. First it was a delay in the Obamacare mandate they wanted, but we do not hear about that anymore. Second, they are trying to piecemeal the government back together to suit their image of community. And now, third, it is the debt ceiling. Moving goalposts. Bad faith.
Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, are no better. They have capitulated already on the budget levels sought by the Republicans, a capitulation they would have offered in any case since the American public wants reduced federal budgets, plain and simple. So they argue that they have given the Republicans everything they wanted, only they were planning on tossing them that bone from Day One. That is not negotiation. It is simply bad faith. Democrats also are acting as though this nation and its economy will just trip along as it has done for the past half century or so, when, in fact, the economy has been altered radically. They tell us the jobs will return, but they have not the foggiest idea about how to accomplish that. In Congress, they act as though the revenue pool is so deep they can do just about anything – pay for Bush’s drug subsidy plan, pay for Bush’s tax cuts, pay for Bush’s and Obama’s Middle East wars, pay for Obama’s (and the Heritage Foundation’s and Romney’s) insurance company subsidy health care plan, and pay for God knows what else – as though nothing has occurred in the past decade. They haul this don’t-bother-me-with-reality into talks with the Republicans and, like their counterparts, negotiate in bad faith. They have no intention other than to run the Republican out of the House and take over all branches of government again, nothing more.
The White House, in the meantime, continues to kick sand in the face of the very people they need to negotiate with – the Republicans. They have taken a page right out of the Radical GOP playbook – demonize your enemies until the public thinks there actually is something wrong with them, when, in reality, there is nothing wrong with them at all. They simply have a different point of view. Add that attitude to the utter incompetence the Obama Administration has shown in implementing its signature health care program, which is not new or innovative, but stolen directly from Republicans and the Heritage Foundation (where is the single-payer system or the public option, Mr. President?) and written by the insurance companies, and you have a White House that is indifferent, arrogant, and incompetent. Where is the good faith? I see none.
It does not matter who is to blame for the shutdown or yet another impending debt default crisis. It is the fault of all of the above: a Republican Party scared stiff of an unruly and unprincipled Tea Party faction lurking in the shadows, a Democratic Party that think tax revenues grow on trees, and a White House that is beating its chest in a feeble effort to drive away the other animals.
The American Citizen, you and me, are left with a civil war on our hands – one that has so far escalated from ugly rhetoric and questionable election tactics to the unraveling of our government institutions, the economic crushing of nearly a million American Citizens ordered not to work, the destruction of countless businesses that depended on ongoing government activity in their communities, and another destabilizing threat of default, which could lead to one more drop on this nation’s credit worthiness – the number one economy in the world. Hopefully, the escalation will go no further.