Posts Tagged government shutdown

A victory for government, and adulthood

US CapitolNormally, I use this space to rant about things that are wrong with the world; I don’t always follow up when things go right.

I am immensely relieved that the government shutdown is over, and that Democrats were able end it without defacing the Affordable Care Act.

I tend to give less emphasis to these types of events because, right or wrong, I feel like this is simply how things should work.

The Republican healthcare-for-hostages scheme was completely unreasonable; the GOP was trying to block a law that had already been approved by Congress, and vetted by the Supreme Court and the people’s votes for President Obama in last year’s election.

Republicans may not like the law, but that’s not a reason for shutting down the government. Wednesday’s solution was the only logical way for this to end.

I say that not as a supporter of Obamacare gloating over a hard-won victory, but as someone who has faith in the mechanisms of the Federal government.

In a democracy, not everyone will agree 100 percent of the time, but our system of government has always been able to contain those disagreements (with the exception of the Civil War). Over the past couple of weeks, that system was tested by a group that simply wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and it passed.

The American people passed the test too.

We stood up for that system of government, not letting concepts of “fairness” or “compromise” become transmuted into a tyranny of the minority, realizing that adults need to be able to handle not getting their way.

Many people assume that constant fighting is an inherent part of how Washington works, but the government shutdown has shown that obstruction by a few shouldn’t be misconstrued with overall incompetence.

Now that we’ve gotten a taste of how government is supposed to work, maybe we’ll be less lenient the next time Republicans conjure up a crisis to advance their agenda.

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The will of one

Clouded Captiol [Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP]

Clouded Captiol [Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP]

Five years ago, a Jewish businessman in Dothan, Alabama saw that his synagogue was running out of congregants.

So he put up $1 million to recruit Jews, offering a financial incentive for them to move to Alabama and join the congregation.

Money can accomplish seemingly-impossible things, like getting Jews to move to the Deep South. However, that becomes a problem when there is no other power to balance the influence of cash and an individual willing to use it to exert his or her will.

An individual like John Ramsey. A 21-year-old Ron Paul fan, he used money inherited from his grandparents to start the Liberty for All Super PAC.

According to Rolling Stone, the PAC funded the winning campaign of  Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, one of the hardline proponents of the government shutdown.

People have a right to contribute resources to causes they believe in, but without forces to balance them–like a string government or informed populace–what we get is essentially feudalism: the people with the money decide what happens.

Liberals have (rightfully) criticized corporations of exerting this kind of undue influence through lobbying and job-baiting, but things will get much weirder if that guy who just won the lottery becomes a political influencer.

The government shutdown is an example of tyranny of the minority: a group that’s been outvoted is holding everyone else hostage because they can’t deal with losing.

If Super PACs and their untraceable campaign funding are allowed to continue corrupting the electoral process, we’ll just get more of that.

In a democracy, not every person can have his or her way 100 percent of the time. Let’s make sure that having money to spend on a political campaign doesn’t change that.

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