Stop blaming Congress for being “polarized” or “dysfunctional.” Congress is acting exactly the way you voted for its members to behave. Congress exists to work through conflict. Conflict that actually exists in the country. It’s not Scout camp.
Approximately 20% to 30% of voters hate the idea of Barack Obama being president and they have made their views clear from his first presidential campaign through his second term.
A plea for Congress to “get along” or “act like adults” is a purposeful effort to ignore the reality of America’s historic and continuing racism. Your platitudes aren’t helping. They’re enabling.
Shutting down the government and denying benefits to certain people is not a threat. It is a goal. We are talking about people who expressed their ideas about the legitimacy of the presidency by pushing a birther movement for years on the basis of no evidence. This demographic openly calls for Obama’s impeachment because he is a member of Al Qaeda. He is not “one of us.” See this website for yourself: http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/barack-hussein-obama-the-new-leader-of-al-qaeda?xg_source=activity
Pointing a finger at the loosely defined “Tea Party,” however, does not precisely identify the people who hate the US government enough to shut it down. Nor can we dismiss their view by saying they exist in an “echo chamber” of ideas, with the naïve notion that a few facts will change their minds. The issues are deeper.
We can recognize who these people are by the language they use. Here’s the tip-off: they speak in terms of “Makers and Takers.”
This framework, widely used during the 2012 campaign, refers to the idea some Americans “make” and others “take.” US Representative Paul Ryan explains it just fine: Ryan on Makers and Takers
As an economic theory, the concept has been widely debunked (web search it for many examples). Many number-heavy analyses show the distinction just makes no sense. Yet many people hold it dear. One reason it maintains and gains credibility is that it has internal rhyme which makes it seem coherent. (A phenomenon discussed in this blog another day.)
The dearly held idea easily repels economic reality because more is happening. “Makers” means white people. “Takers” means black and brown people. Knowing the code, take a look at Ryan’s speeches again and listen for his fear mongering about who is taking control. Black people are taking over. Already the government, now run by one of them, is shifting resources to lazy non-whites who don’t pay their share of taxes. Guess which health care program represents a major structural social dislocation from Makers to Takers? You may have missed this social movement because you don’t get the code but it is hardly news. Just exactly which “traditional values” has TV cook Paula Deen been celebrating along?
So shutting down the government is actually beneficial, preventing a major collapse of American values — the values of real Americans, they mean. The white ones. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), presidential candidate and major spokeswoman for something, calls it “exactly what we wanted.” Listen to some people who actually tell you the shutdown is a good thing: http://www.policymic.com/articles/66021/government-shutdown-8-people-who-are-actually-happy-about-it
Moving past talk of negotiating tactics and specially draw legislative districts, some commentators have come to understand the basis of shutdown intransigence is basically race — a strong strain of American politics.
Norman Ornstein, political researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said this in a recent interview with Salon: “The bottom line was that it’s the House party and the Southern party, which are the dominant forces out there; they are the ones driving the dialogue. And the fact is that in the House party you’ve got people who come from homogeneous echo chambers in their districts and are concerned, most of them, only about primaries. The Southern party has a very different worldview from the rest of the country, and is not moved by broader national opinion. It is much more overtly hostile to Obama, and I suspect that race is a part of it.
“Almost all of the people from those areas come from districts with at best a trace element of minority voters. If you look, even within the House, at all of those votes where Boehner tried to get bipartisan majorities, the ones at the end of last year and the beginning of this year: the fiscal cliff, Hurricane Sandy, Violence Against Women Act, the ones who voted against him consistently, the vast number of them, were from the South.” See http://www.salon.com/2013/10/10/norm_ornstein_the_south_is_in_charge_in_congress/
So we have a ridiculous movement of a minority of voters following senseless theories that shutdown the government and harm the everyday lives of everybody else.
How did they accomplish that? They work harder. Liberals are just sitting round talking about playing nice. “We just need to learn to get along.”
Southern Congressman happy with the shut down: http://www.advisor.ca/news/economic/hardline-republican-congressman-happy-with-shutdown-132159
Magical thinking about government: http://www.salon.com/2013/10/10/christian_delusions_are_driving_the_gop_insane/