Fighting Political Fire With Fire
While I’m somewhat relieved that a debt deal has been reached and we can put this sordid ordeal behind us to a certain extent, it’s very hard to ignore the fact that I feel politically violated. The people we have voted for to represent our collective interest have allowed themselves to be bent to the wishes of a small but vocal minority. The for right conservatives that call themselves the tea party and their admirers have hijacked the political system and have succeeded in making the fairly routine process of raising the debt ceiling into a Constitutional crises that threatened the global economy. With America on the brink of self-inflicted financial ruin, these people encouraged their Congressional gladiators to shut government down at any and all cost. Cooler heads may have prevailed and the government managed to avoid calamity. But if the details of the debt deal can be believed, the conservatives should be having a hell of a celebration today.
Conservatives claim they are doing whatever they can to protect the economy by destroying it. Any sense of fairness was thrown out the window back when they refused to let anybody keep the tax cuts implemented by former President George Bush Jr. if the wealthy didn’t have the same deal. The right will swear up and down that if the wealthy pay anything more than they already do then unemployment will suffer. So they resisted and refused and low and behold they got their way. The left, lead by President Barack Obama himself, folded faster than Superman in an origami contest.
And then this crazy ordeal was kicked into high gear with the debt ceiling discussions. Emboldened by the left’s cave to their earlier demands they repeated the process. No debt ceiling increase unless we have spending cuts with absolutely no revenue increase. Any plan that included a single wealthy person paying an extra dime to the federal government would be a deal breaker. Too many politicians signed a pledge not to raise any tax revenue and they were going to live by that pledge no matter the consequences. So we got a deal for a debt limit increase that, at least from the left’s perspective, falls significantly short of the mark. Considering the right’s long sought after goal of reducing or eliminating government funded social services for the not so privileged, it’s a perfect bull’s eye.
In all fairness, it should be noted that Mr. Obama and the majority of the left leaning politicians weren’t ready to deal with the hostage taking tactics from the right. The politicians from the right have been radicalized by tea partiers who insist on taking their country back. I always thought that meant they wanted to take it back as if somebody had stolen it. Now, it appears that they simply want to go back to a time when government allowed big business to operate with abandon. These people act like they want to go back to a time where a lot of people had no access to anything resembling modern healthcare. These people want to go back to a time before America had anything resembling the modern infrastructure that makes life so convenient for us. The same infrastructure that we all take for granted.
The right sent a special breed of people to Washington D.C. to represent their interest. These people had no idea what it means to compromise. In their minds, the whole process was a my way or highway proposition. There was never going to be a compromise. The traditional politician that represented the left was caught off guard with this new opposition. If we are to give Mr. Obama the benefit of doubt, he might say that be is working as hard as he can to govern. But it appears that, as the leader of the political left, he is ill-equipped to hold fast to the convictions of his true political base and wants to compromise on most issues in order to give both sides a reason to dislike his form of executive management or the lack thereof. And too many other politicians on the left are beholden to the old way of doing business to buck their leadership.
Like the people on the political right, the political left may want to vote for people who want to hold fast to their convictions to the point of shutting government down. If the left wants to stop the trend of our political reps caving to their peers on the right time and time again, maybe the left should look for its own hardcore politicians that are willing to hold fast to their convictions just as strongly as the tea party right holds fast to its own. Sometimes you need fire to fight fire. And when government grinds to a hard stop and nothing gets done, at least we can say that we didn’t cave on this one. That might make us feel better when the next bridge collapses and people are killed. It might make us feel better when schools across the country close and our educational system goes back to a one room school house style of teaching.
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