Let’s be clear. It is not Congress that is being irresponsible. It is a small, but vocal fringe group made up of intractable fundamentalist idealogues who have decided that opposing the Affordable Care Act is a key way to finally do what their philosophical hero, Grover Norquist, has desired all along – to shrink government so small that they can drown it in the bathtub. Make no mistake, these are not patriots. They are no Constitutionalists. They have no respect for what the Founding Fathers built, and for which millions have died. They are traitors and fascists. Only a traitor or fascist would so destructively and violently refuse to accept the results of the lawful processes which led to the approval and implementation of the ACA. Massachusetts has had a version of this for the past seven years and it was set up under a Republican governor who compromised in order to make it happen. But now, it’s somehow anathema because it will occur under a Democrat?
It is appalling the the Republican leadership has hitched its future to these demagogues by refusing to allow a continuing resolution to come to the floor of the House of Representatives. It is sickening that the Republicans have decided that their ideology trumps the needs of hungry woman and children, and of those cancer patients who are awaiting clinical trials which have been suspended by the NIH (as WIC and NIH are two of the programs currently limited by the government shutdown).. Finally, it is insulting to the intelligence of every American citizen that the Republican leadership, in all their glorious hypocrisy, are blaming everyone but themselves.
Fortunately, there are a few voices of reason within the Republican party. One can only hope that their voices finally win out and these fringe groups are relegated to the dustbin of history. But I have my doubts.
Two things are happening here. We are experiencing a coup of sorts, orchestrated by narrow-minded fundamentalists whose only mantra is “either we win, or no one wins”. Secondly, we are experiencing what happens when two leaders so detest each other that one of them finally invokes a “nuclear option”, because serving the public is somehow not nearly important as a bitter power struggle over a once-great, but now flailing, nation.
Aaron Sorkin made popular a name for the Tea Party, and considering its scorched-earth fundamentalism, it is completely appropriate that they be labeled “The American Taliban”. Like the Taliban, they will inflict their beliefs on us through force, not because of the veracity of those beliefs, and brook no compromise. They will subjugate the poor and weak, they will demean women, and they will persecute all non-believers. It is the Shari’a Law of the Tea Party. It’s the ultimate “tin foil hat” dream come to life… the conspiracy theorists have taken control, and their reality is much worse than any hallucination.
This may seem extreme, labeling these fools as an American Taliban. But their ideas are as dangerous and radical, and should be seen for exactly what they represent. Government has always been a refuge for fools, but none, in the history of our country, can be counted as breathtakingly foolish as today’s Republican/Tea Party thralls.
I leave you with the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who give heart-felt and eloquent voice to those in our nation who understand that reason and compromise are at the heart of what makes us great.