“The time has come for those legislators who cannot cope with the reality of our democracy to get out of the way, so that those of us in both parties who understand that the American people sent us here to work for them can get back to work solving real problems faced by the American people. We have real work to do, and that’s what we should be doing.”
This response to the government shut down from Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren best captures the ever-present notion that our government has, as a whole, let the American people down. As a response to the Affordable Care Act being set in motion, despite the fact it had been signed into law way back in 2009, the Republicans in the Senate refused to fund the government until the bill was overturned. This last-ditch attempt to prevent “Obamacare” from being put into action may not currently be affecting the majority of the population, but could have terrible consequences for the economy if not resolved in the immediate future. It is time for America, the self-proclaimed founder of democracy, to once again begin to function as one of the most powerful nations in the world, and stop this insanely inappropriate ideological warfare in a time when the future of our economy is at stake.
The simple fact of the matter is no matter how flawed the Affordable Care Act may be, it is a constitutionally sound supreme law of the land. Yet the very Republicans in the Congress who instigated the shutdown claim that the president and Democratic party are really the ones at fault for the shutdown, because they refuse to negotiate. In this present situation, the term “negotiate” is a disputable one, given that the only option Republicans will accept in order to reopen the government is the defunding of Obamacare. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like a demand, not a negotiation.
But the most sickening part of this whole ordeal is the down play of the severity of this shut down. Maybe to the outside world this shut down seems to constitute of a few national parks and museums closing down, but there are hard working individuals with families to support that have suddenly been deprived of their jobs. What’s more, there are federally funded programs Americans desperately rely on that have closed down. As Jon Stewart quite rightly pointed out on the Daily Show, programs such as the Women, Infants, and Children food service program that provides critical supplemental nutrition for women and children who cannot afford it, have closed down. Sure, the politicians who caused this whole mess may not be feeling the effects, and have even gone as far as referring to the shutdown as a “slimdown.” But by no means does this underplay negate the fact that people are suffering, and I am disgusted at their ignorance when it comes to the very serious ramifications this shutdown is having on the people who need the most help. And of course, the cherry on top of the cake is that according to a CNN article, our Congressmen are still being paid for purposely doing nothing, because the 27th amendment in the Constitution prevents Congress from being able to change its pay.
And finally, let’s not forget the fact that we are still fighting our way out of a severe recession, and have yet to agree upon the debt ceiling. In a speech delivered the day of the shut down, President Obama reiterates the harsh truth that “one faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government, all because they did not like one law.”
What the Republicans should be doing is accepting that the current battle over Obamacare has been lost, but the next step is to being negotiating reforms so that it can be beneficial and effective, which cannot happen until they end the shutdown. According to the Wall Street Journal, it would be perilous if the government doesn’t pull together and set a debt ceiling, because the United States would default for its loans for the first time ever in history. It is time for the people in charge of running our country to stop acting like sore losers on the playground and get back to solving the more serious issues at hand, and for us, the people, to stop electing these ideological nut-jobs who are willing to sacrifice the stability of our entire economy over petty party politics.