I’ve barely gotten any work done in the past nine days.
It’s not because I’m among the half million federal employees who were furloughed last week. Rather, it’s because I’m constantly on my laptop, refreshing the sites for the New York Times, Politico, CNN and C-SPAN, obsessively searching out the latest news on the government shutdown.
Not since Sarah Palin ran for vice president in the 2008 election have I found myself this het-up over politics. It’s not good for me, my blood pressure or my disposition.
I’ve been sending almost daily emails to Speaker of the House John Boehner. I’m sorry to report that I seem to be getting progressively less civil in these missives by the day. Yesterday, I urged him to grow a pair.
I spend my days tracking down the latest pronouncements from the Republican Congressional faction that’s holding the entire country hostage. I read and I mutter. I’ve become one of those people who talk out loud when no one else is in the room.
Watching the latest video footage of yet another Tea Partier confidently explaining that there’ll be no actual ill effects if the U.S. government fails to pay its debt, I find myself yelling at the screen: “Are you insane?”
I fear the answer may be yes. And if not insane, then the Tea Partiers are at least intransigent — insanity’s lesser but more stubborn cousin.
These hardcore conservatives are exhibiting willful ignorance. They seem to believe that if they just say it often enough, it will be so. Poll after poll shows that Americans want the Affordable Care Act, especially when you call it by that name rather than Obamacare. It passed both the House and Senate, was signed into law by the President, was upheld by the Supreme Court and was affirmed by the American people in the results of the 2012 presidential election. Why do these right-wing zealots think they can just stamp their feet, shut down the government and make it go away?
Ditto for saying that there’ll be no blowback, no financial repercussions, if this shutdown continues and the U.S. fails to pay its debt. They are pretty much the only ones who believe that.
Let’s not pussyfoot around about what’s really going on. Yes, the president is black. Yes, whites are fast becoming a minority. Yes, the country is far more urban and multicultural than rural and homogenous. Yes, gays want to get married. That’s just the way it is now. Get used to it.
Throwing tantrums and trying to create an alternate reality isn’t going to work. It doesn’t work for 2-year-olds and it won’t for grown-up politicians.
So, please, act like adults and learn to compromise. I need to get back to work.