While at one time, the founders of this organization harbored the notion of forming a viable political alternative to the dominant parties, one which was based on reason and empathy rather than partisan dogma, it did not seem as though mainstream Americans were ready to jump on board this particular revolution. We therefore veered toward the goal of education and enlightenment, changing perspectives when possible and attempting to foster a new base of thoughtful, reasoned and educated voters. The fact that the Tea Party influence so heavily flushed through Congress in the last election cycle is evidence that our work here did not go far enough. Bearing that in mind, we are opening a Facebook page to act as our live discussion board, while keeping this site alive for commentary pieces (in this blog) and general information on the home page. It is seriously underfunded, so please do not expect frequent updates. However, change only happens when individuals act in support. And that being said, I am going to move along into the clear issues of why our government was shut down and what to do about it now.
First things being first, it needs to be clarified that the government was not shut down to do anything about the Debt Ceiling. This fallacy is easily disproved by logic: if the shutdown COSTS more money, and the issue is saving money, then keep the government running and work on trimming the debt through legislative action. Yes, it really is that simple. Also, the shutdown was not really about the Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as Obamacare. While the act itself is highly flawed (thanks in large part to the Republicans who oppose it and attempted to cripple it prior to being signed into law), these flaws can be fixed through due process. And the should be.
No, this shutdown was a powerplay by Tea Party Republicans trying to energize their base and appear as Conservative martyrs. On the Senate side, Ted Cruz has Presidential aspirations that blind him to the odd associations he is creating for himself with marginalized ideologies and irresponsible posturing. On the House side, Eric Cantor leads the flanks of ponderously dogmatic Conservatives with, let's be honest, somewhat crazy ideas of what is good for this country. (And by crazy, it only takes listening to a few things people like Michele Bachmann say to let the crazy really settle in.)
But it is the next video that is most relevant to this discussion. Please watch it and pay attention. If you don't understand how the maneuvering of the Far Right has lead to this situation, then you are missing something integral and should re-watch (or continue reading below).
I'll go on record as a certified non-partisan that it was, indeed, the Republicans who caused this recent shutdown, deliberately and determinedly. It was reported by several outlets that have been largely ignored for breaking the story of how Republican leadership in the house essentially took away the ability of the majority of Representatives to bring the disputed Senate bill to the floor. The video explains it quite clearly and is very damning of the conspirators behind the move. While I'm certainly not going to get all my news from TPM, at least the site references its sources (unlike, say, Fox News, which often just makes them up or takes them from The Onion) and the story had also been reported by CBS, which vetted it academically. So the bottom line remains that the Republicans in a single committee took away the power of both the minority party AND the rank and file members of their own party in order to ensure that no consensus would be reached.
This was absolute foul play. Since when was our system designed to elect representatives but then remove their ability to do their job unless they agreed with a minority faction? That is what checks and balances are supposed to prevent, and it is also why we, as a nation, choose Democracy over Fascism. While I am not saying that the Republicans are all Fascists, because that would be juvenile, I do think that most of the House Republicans and a good number of Senate Republicans instigated the shutdown without thought of how it would impact the lives of real people or our national credibility or with any intention of using the situation to address important issues of debt or the economy; simply put, these individuals need to be removed from governance because they lack a balance of the essential characteristics of intelligence and compassion.
And now the call to action: VOTE. There is only one thing that will prevent this from happening again, and that is preventing the people who stand behind this behavior from holding public office. Governance, at least as it was conceived for this country, is intended to be a service to the people. In order to govern well, our leaders must have a balance of Intelligence, Compassion and Will. Without these traits, no one belongs in a position of governance. The Tea Party Republicans have proven that they have Will, but lack severely in the two prime components of Intelligence and Compassion. Their logic falters consistently, whether it is a failure to understand history, sociology or basic science, and their compassionless nature is betrayed by actions that directly affect millions of people in a negative manner. So, on the next election, I call on each and every one of you to look at the public voting record of your Representatives and remove these people from office. [Notable Republicans who voted AGAINST this resolution designed to be killed in the Senate were: Paul Broun, GA; Michael Grimm, NY; Pete King, NY; Frank Wolf, VA; Frank LoBiondo, NJ; Walter Jones, NC; Kerry Bentivolio, MI; Charles Dent, PA; and Thomas Massie, KY. These are the only 9 House Republicans who were not voting deliberately to close down the government. It should be noted that 7 Democrats joined the Republicans to pass the Resolution that caused this mess. Check out where your representatives stood.] And while you are at it, why not start now by petitioning for their resignation?