After a week long government shutdown, the democratic process and America’s leaders were still stalled, bickering and unable to fully attend to the needs of the country.
Almost 900,000 federal workers were unable to go to work as Congress was unable to pass a funding bill and a small group hijacked the process, helped by Republican fears of being seen as pro-President Obama. Any pro-Obama leaning could lead to a GOP primary defeat and ouster from Congress, they fear.
So on the one hand were the extreme views of the GOP Tea Party members in the House and on the other were Republicans too scared to do anything.
On the Democratic side was the White House holding to the president’s declaration that negotiations with the Republicans were possible but not with a political gun held to the heads of the America people–the proverbial gun being the shutdown of the federal government.
In between the two parties were the American people bewildered, angry and divided in their own right. Those who loved the Tea Partiers applauded their stand while others felt disgusted by the entire debacle.
The shutdown fueled by the GOP determination to gut the president’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is another telling sign of the fall of America.
Nations are held together not just by language, ethnicity, history and necessity, they are also held together by some sense of shared destiny and common bond. That shared present and future hold the nation together as leaders attempt to forge policy that balances individual needs and geographic needs, and desires with national needs and desires. When a nation cannot agree on basic functions, like the central government staying open, that nation is facing a huge problem. Lawmakers are not committed enough to the whole to compromise for the greater good.
“Once upon a time when I was a young man working on Capitol Hill, it was commonplace that when a bill became law, everybody was unhappy with it. But you didn’t bring down the government just because it wasn’t perfect. You argue and fight and vote and then, due process having been at least raggedly served, on to the next fight,” observed longtime journalist and commentator Bill Moyers of PBS.
“That was a long time ago. Long before the Tea Party minority, armed with huge sums of secret money from rich donors, sucked the last bit of soul from the Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln. They became delusional. … When the president refused to buckle to their extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the Union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn the place down, sink the ship of state, and sow economic chaos to get their way. This says it all, they even shuttered the Statue of Liberty,” he said.
While government was shut down, the clock was ticking on the need to raise the U.S. debt limit, which is needed for America to pay old debts–more than $10 trillion worth just for wars in the 21st Century alone–and not new expenditures.
Analysts warned that if the debt ceiling was not raised as of Oct. 17, the country would face serious repercussions and possible economic ruin–even the world’s sole superpower is expected to pay its bills.
Others also saw further erosion of the power of the people, albeit the semblance of power: “What they see taking place is a transfer of power from one kind of oppression, by a government that at least pretends to be democratic, to another that has no such pretensions,” said Nathan Schneider, author of the new book Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse said in a statement released by the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington.
“They point out that the shutdown won’t stop the NSA from spying on us, or police from enforcing laws in discriminatory ways, or migrant workers and nonviolent drug users from being imprisoned at staggering rates. The parts of government that the shutdown strips away are among those that bring us closer to being a truly free, egalitarian society: food assistance to ensure that everyone can eat, health care that more people can afford, and even public parks, where some of our greatest natural treasures are held in common. Meanwhile, ever more power is being handed over to corporations that are responsible only to their wealthiest shareholders,” he said.
So much for the virtues of democracy and a flawed system America insists the world should follow and model after her failing fortunes.
America is in trouble.
“A crisis exists among leadership that has no vision for and is bent on trying to overlord over the masses. A crisis persists among people whose professed values of liberty, justice and equality, and the basic essentials of human rights, are corrupted by greed and inordinate self interests, so much so that they are blinded to their own sickness,” observes the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam in his book, “A Torchlight for America.” He offers guidance for fixing what is wrong with the United States and the mindset of her leaders.
The current crisis is another sign of a madness that engulfs America and a continued splintering that no empire can endure–from all 50 states have come petitions from those who wish to secede from the United States and public opinion and trust of elected officials are at major lows. The question is not whether a bridge across the current crisis is possible, the question is how much longer can a fractured nation survive?