Thursday, October 3, 2013

Governments should be afraid of their people

An open letter to Sens. McConnell and Cruz, and Reps. Boehner, Bachmann, Cantor, et. al:

God damn your murderous hides! For you are murderers. You're killing this country.

You have let the federal government shut down for one simple insidious reason:

You don't like President Obama. Make that: You don't like the idea of a President Obama.

So from the beginning of the Obama administration, you have done all in your power, marshaled your forces, maneuvered your money to eviscerate anything (short of bombing another country, which of course you like!) Obama has endeavored.

You have spent all your energy, not on representing your states and districts, but on making sure the president fails.

You have fertilized fear and discomfort, you have worked hate to a heat, relentlessly, expertly. Policy became irrelevant because perception has become your wholehearted pursuit, to mold it and let its moldy spores spread.

Here is your reward. Congratulations! You have reached the pinnacle (or the abyss). The fallout of the government shutdown is wide and manifold and you know about them all — foods will not be inspected for safety, diseases will not be controlled, parks will not open, etc. Let me isolate just one; one is enough: Head Start programs are shutting down.

Some 1,600 federal Head Start programs operate through the country, to serve about 1 million children of low-income families with nutrition and pre-school education and other services. As the shut or cut services (and The Washington Post reports services have already been cut for 57,000 children this year under budget battles), picture thousands of families scrambling to find alternate plans for their children as they try to continue work for meager pay, and thousands of children losing out on a good meal each day for who knows how many days.

Children and their families who lose out, powerless against the fact that you simply do not like President Obama and don't care who suffers for it.

Sure, you say this is all about the Affordable Health Care Act, which you deftly branded "Obamacare" from the start. Maybe you didn't coin the term, but you knew the perception this brand would wield, and even before the text of the legislation reached your desks you denounced it as an imposition, as government control. As socialism.

It hasn't mattered whether the law would do any good [and for all its wild imperfections — millions will still not be able to afford insurance — even you have to admit — even if you never will — that it can reduce the overall costs of health care by enabling more Americans to buy health insurance] because its utility has been irrelevant. It's the president's Big Idea, and you will not abide it.
(I thought about writing your offices, but all I'd get in return is, "Thank you for your interest on this matter, Mr. Turner. Here is what I'm doing for you as a citizen," then a recitation of votes and political positions. Better others hear my vent. Maybe it moves someone. Maybe it moves me.)
You have worked your dark magic. "Obamacare" is evil and socialist, and the Affordable Health Care Act makes common sense, and you have made sure enough Americans are so confused they don't know it's one and the same. You have even managed to make some states refuse expanded federal health care programs that will help its citizens, because of course it's socialist. It bears Obama's stain.

I blame your Republican Party almost entirely for where we are. I'm old and wise enough to know you're not alone to blame, that the Democrats bobble and blunder and obfuscate plenty. Educated in journalism, I retain a vibrant cynicism and mistrust of all. But the Republican Party seems to possess the lion's share of hypocrisy and flag-waving legerdemain and newspeak and doublespeak. The Constitution is sacrosanct until and unless it becomes inconvenient. Freedom is slavery. Down is up; night is day. Love is hate.

Will the day ever return that our representatives use their philosophical differences to build legislation made from those differences — made better by those differences — made by compromise? Why did compromise become so evil?

I just doubt things will get better. We're getting stupider, more distant, more tired. The torrents of controlling money that gets shoved up our lawmakers' butts and come out their mouths is unrelenting and undiminished, overmatching what the rest of us can do.

God damn my hide most of all.

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