I want to write about the government shutdown. Unfortunately, most Americans would prefer to stab themselves in the eyes than read another shitty post about our shitty government and all of their shitty actions.
But it does matter. Just this week I had two sets of friends on vacation (one honeymoon, one regular ol’ vacation) and both were shut out of beautiful National Parks because some folks in our government would prefer to play chicken with the government than, you know… govern.
Well government sucks, what else is new?
If there’s one thing Americans love, it’s complaining about taxes and government. Usually, it’s a sort of vague blame. They’re all a bunch of rich jerks who don’t care about us real Americans. Both parties are cronies beholden to lobbyists.
Some of this is true. But not all politicians are the same. And not all political parties care about the same things.
Some care about abortion and some care about the death penalty and some care about trade laws and some care so much about the Affordable Care Act that they’d gladly send thousands of employees home without a paycheck in a hopeless game of one-upsmanship with no hope of victory.
But hey, at least they’re still getting paid, eh?
But aren’t both Democrats and Republicans to blame?
Short answer: eh… not not really.
Longish answer: See, the Republicans are pissed off about the Affordable Care Act, or, as they call it, Obamacare. They hate it with every fiber of their beings even though it was originally a conservative idea meant to counter the much more progressive (and effective) universal health care. But since the Democrats are for it, the Republicans are against it. Makes sense, right?
But they don’t have the votes to repeal it and Obama would veto the hell out of it even if they did (remember the executive branch, everybody?). So what can they do?
Short answer: Not a thing.
Long answer: Act like a bunch of children who refuse to play so they pick up their ball and go home.
“We refuse to pay for government until you cave to our demands.”
That’s pretty much the entire GOP strategy right now. The Democrat-controlled Senates passed a budget. Obama said he’d sign it into law.
Republican-leading House of Reps? Nah, fuck that. They’re perfectly content closing national parks, sending home federal employees, stopping small business loans from the government, all in the name of stopping The Dreaded Obamacare.
Of course, there’s absolutely zero chance of this happening. And in the meantime, people are starting to hate Republicans even more so… yeah. Nice job everybody.
It’s a classic game of chicken. No, wait, I’m sorry. I meant to say, it’s a classic case of the GOP taking the American economy hostage and if we don’t cave to their demands, too fucking bad.
So Congress Can’t Pass a Budget?
Actually, Congress won’t even fucking vote on it. That’s the best part.
They claim they don’t have the votes to pass a budget unless it defunds Obamacare. Which is a pretty great claim given that they’re too scared to actually vote on it.
Speaker Boehner hasn’t called a vote because, well, honestly, he’s in sort of a shit position. And this is where things get kind of complicated:
Boehner has to balance two problems: on one hand, he has the conservative wing of the party, and he doesn’t want to piss them off, so he doesn’t want to hold a vote. On the other hand, if he allows a vote and it passes, it looks like the GOP caved and they lose.
So are we pretty much fucked, then?
I honestly have no idea. We have a debt ceiling crisis coming up soon, too, and unlike a government shutdown, this is some extremely serious shit. Nobody wants the US to stop paying its debts. The world economy relies on us not to act like total morons all the time.
Also, you know, we gotta pay for things like social security and medicare, but eh, fuck old people cause Obamacare, you know?
Listen. Maybe you hate Obamacare, too. I get it. A lot of people don’t like it although only one third of people want it repealed or defunded or even delayed.
I don’t like a lot of laws. I think the drug laws in this country are insane. I despise the death penalty. Campaign finance laws make me cringe.
But you can’t hold the entire country hostage to your demands. That’s not negotiation. It’s hostage taking. And it makes you look like an asshole.
So the Republicans are a bunch of assholes, then?
Well, yeah. I don’t want to pretend that Democrats aren’t asshole, too — they are. I would much prefer universal health care to this nonsense and there’s countless reasons the Democrats are a bunch of jerks, too.
But this government shutdown isn’t on them. This is the GOP pointing a gun at the US economy and saying, “Repeal Obama care — or else.”
Just remember, the next time you vote, who governed and who demanded.