Point of View Columns

Playing With Fire

Ever since the 2010 midterm elections, the governance atmosphere has gone from combative to toxic. Partisan goals such as retaining the White House or defeating the incumbent MuslimAntiChristKenyan Outlier Obama are not historically unique in Washington. However, beginning in 2011 a new wave of Teapublican terrorists have swarmed into the nation’s capital with the stated goal of dismantling the federal government and rolling back the rights and liberties of minorities, women and immigrants – and anyone else that they don’t like.

This notion of Teapublican state sponsored institutional terrorism is a new feature in American politics where a virulent and well-financed faction in Congress has basically held the federal government hostage in the name of its extreme agenda. Not since the dark days in the run up to the Civil War have we seen elected officials in Washington speak so comfortably about dismantling the government and shutting it down.

Most recently, the Teapublican Terrorists have threatened to shut down the entire federal government if the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is not totally defunded. They are taking this position even though Obamacare was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States – a president who was reelected with Obamacare prominently on his campaign resume.

The Teapublican Terrorists not only seem to be willing to ignore the will of the American people, they are also prepared to ignore the fact that the rightist Supreme Court of the United States, led by its rightwing Chief Justice John Roberts, affirmed the legality and constitutionality of Obamacare. That is not enough for these terrorists who have non-negotiable demands and are willing to kill their hostage if they don’t get their way.

And just because they are carrying a virulent strain of negative obstructionism and institutional sabotage doesn’t mean that they aren’t serious. The Teapublican Terrorists proved this in 2011 when they exacerbated the crisis over the debt ceiling to a point where the United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time in the history of the republic.

Not satisfied with the financial and economic havoc created by this fiasco, the Teapublican Terrorists have determined that the extreme “neutron bomb” of sequestration is actually a viable governance option. And as a result of their concretized and sclerotic intransigence, the federal government is slowly asphyxiating even as you read this column. On the Planet Teapublican this is known as a good thing.

Taking such extreme positions in a governance process that has been relatively successful for over two centuries because of the willingness of stakeholders to compromise and negotiate threatens to overturn the entire process of American governance. The Teapublican Terrorists recognize the fact that the demographics and prevailing social/cultural perspectives of this country are moving in a direction that does not favor them.

Their answer has not been to propose solutions that are better suited to an evolving America. Rather the Teapublican Terrorists are trying to freeze this country in right wing amber. That is why, with gerrymandered Congressional districts virtually insuring a Teapublican majority in the House of Representatives for the next seven years, these Terrorists are trying to roll back voting rights to the time of Reconstruction and to virtually abolish abortion rights and a woman’s right to choose.

That is why the Teapublican Terrorists will never agree to any kind of immigration reform that has a “path to citizenship” because they don’t want twenty-first century immigrants to become citizens. That is because twenty-first century immigrants to America are primarily black and brown and that is not the kind of America that the Teapublican Terrorists want to see.

The Teapublican Terrorists seem to believe that they can continue to dismantle the federal government and that this country will still stand. They seem to believe that they can hold the finances of this country hostage to their ill will and that there will not be long term consequences. They are wrong and they are playing with fire.

It is useful to remember that the history books are full of stories of glorious empires, republics and kingdoms that fell once people believed that the future existence of their nation was inevitable.

 

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