Thursday, October 3, 2013

Politics as usual

I realize that its been awhile since my last update.  A whole lot of good (and some bad) has happened in my life since that I plan to write about in another post.  But first I want to address this ridiculous government shutdown right now.  So fair warning, this is going to be a rather lengthy diatribe about politics and if you don't want to read it I won't blame you.  It's also going to talk about how I have become increasingly apolitical and disinterested in american politics and the sad state of affairs that currently exist.

So about this shutdown......  This isn't the first time the government has been shutdown.  Back in 1995, we had a government shutdown that lasted 28 days.  I was only 13 years old and teenage Robbie could care less about politics at the time, so I had to do some research.  This is taken straight from wikipedia for what its worth:

"The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget.The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. The federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services from November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days. The major players were President Clinton and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich."

Now it is 2013 and once again the Republicans are causing a shutdown and picking a fight with a Democratic president.  I disagree with plenty of Obama's policies, from the NSA and invasion of privacy to his handling of the Libyan embassy debacle.  But I stand firm in saying that our democracy has a process that must be followed to operate and right now the republicans are currently holding this country hostage just as they did in 1995.

Our government since its beginning has operated on the principle of compromise, something which many Tea Party individuals do not seem to realize.  We have a 2 party system that is supposed to represent the beliefs and wishes of American citizens.  If we as citizens disagree with our representatives, we vote them out and choose new representatives that better reflect our views.  Right know, we have a loud vocal minority (Tea Party) holding up the whole process of democracy by refusing to fund the government because they don't like the Affordable Care Act.  The ACA (or Obamacare) was passed and signed into law.  Whether you disagree with it or not does not matter.  It is the law of the land right now.  You can try to repeal it as the Republicans have time and time again if you disagree.  You do NOT simply throw your hands in the air and try to weasel in a bill that will defund the ACA.  Thats not how democracy works.  Right now the Republicans do not have the votes in the Senate to repeal it.  If public opinion shifts, they WILL have the votes in 2 years and can use their new majority to properly repeal the law.

Now to be fair, I am going to take issue with the Democrats here as well.  They do not get off scot free.  The House Republicans sent the Senate a bill saying that if we do allow the ACA to exist, lets make all of us (meaning the congressmen and other government employees) live under the same rules that the general American people will have to live under.  Meaning that instead of being able to keep their government healthcare, they will have to buy in to a new plan or have their rates raised.  Harry Reid and the democratic majority flat out said no.  No we will not agree to this. He is basically saying that government workers and officials are not the same as the general public and shouldn't have to follow policies that they do.  This is class warfare that is politically unjust.  I have a message to Harry Reid, we don't live in Russia under a Czar.  We do not operate in an oligarchy, we operate as a democracy.  The American people should not have to suffer from ill advised bills being passed while government officials get to remain above the law.  That is just not right.

As for my personal opinion on Obamacare?  I think it is an OK policy with some serious flaws that could be detrimental.  I have not done thorough research or read the whole bill line by line but I do think that our current healthcare system needs refined.  Obamacare might not be the end all solution but I think it could possibly be a stepping stone to more comprehensive reform.

All of this brings me to my point in why I hate politics and how I have become increasingly apolitical.  Candidates campaign on promises they have no intention of fulfilling.  They blow smoke up our ass just to gain votes.  Then when the get to D.C., they don't do anything.  The only time a politician is actively working is during his re-election campaign.  I feel that this country has become so divided and partisan that we have lost sight of the true goal of democracy.  When you have one side acting like a spoiled kid taking his ball and going home, you can't function as a democracy.  The process is broken and it needs fixed immediately, or else all hope is lost.