If you are a parent you are no doubt familiar with the out of body histrionics often displayed by a prepubescent child prohibited from getting its way. Temper tantrums, foul language, property damage; all exhibited for the purpose of attracting attention, changing minds and altering the inevitable outcome. Rewarding such behavior is the worst thing a parent can do.
With that in mind I give you the 114th Session of the United States Congress; starring right wing conservatives in the role of prepubescent child.
The federal government will run out of money in nine days. The prospect of another costly government shutdown looms large on the horizon. Right wing conservatives are willing to allow the shutdown to occur. This time it is Planned Parenthood that has them in a snit. They want to defund the organization and they are willing to shut the government down if they don’t get their way.
Experience has taught Republican moderates in the leadership that the blowback from a costly government shutdown will fall squarely on the GOP. Not good during an election year. So leadership is trying its best to soothe the savage beast. The latest shiny object tossed out to distract the crazies is a bill to defund Planned Parenthood for one year while authorities investigate accusations that the organization is illegally engaged in the selling of fetal tissue for profit. The bill passed in the House last Friday but has little hope of passing in the Senate and no chance of making it past a presidential veto.
The far right refuses to be placated, insisting they will shut down the government before they agree to a continuing resolution that includes funding for Planned Parenthood. The fact that the last government shutdown resulted in the furlough of 800,000 government jobs, a $25 billion dollar hit to the economy and the first credit rating downgrade in American history, is of little consequence.
When the founders framed our constitution I believe that they intended for the government to work for everyone. I believe that the intent was to send individuals to Washington to represent the interests of their local constituents; to debate and lobby for ideological principles that they believed to be right and just.
But I also believe that the founders intended for those representatives to seek compromise…to put the best interests of the country as expressed by the majority ahead of their own. I do not believe that the founders intended for the minority to shut down the institution in an ideological hissy fit.
The fact that we find our country in this situation is of our own making. We send people to Washington to represent our interests and reward them for bad behavior.
Republicans have by their own admission, spent the last several years engaging in tactics whose sole intent was to keep a duly elected president from performing his job. The Ted Cruz’ of the world are nothing but political opportunists who cause mayhem for personal gain.
In fairness Democrats are oft times equally complicit; sending people to Washington whose sole intent is not to govern but to marginalize the Republican Party as the legitimate representative of a large segment of the American people.
The haters, fear mongers and bleeding hearts exist on the far reaches of our politics and leave no room for compromise or progress. As long as we reward bad behavior by returning these types of people to the halls of power we can only blame ourselves for the deplorable state of our political affairs.