Opinion | The arrogance of the far right has left undoubtable harsh scars on democracy
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 01:10
Aside from the hysterical Saturday Night Live remake of the Miley Cyrus song “We Can’t Stop,” not much good came out of the government shutdown. In fact, much bad came of it. Besides the fact that citizens were without the services they pay for, it cost the nation $160 million every day during the shutdown. Dysfunction and idiocy reign. Yet, maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised with the situation, given the arrogance and ignorance of the far right.
It is clear to any casual observer what has driven the madness in Washington the last few years: the rise and undue influence of Tea Party types like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann in the Republican Party. These individuals and others like them came to power not with the intention of addressing our nation’s problems, such as improving health care and responsibly reducing the deficit, but instead to drastically reduce the size and scope of government, regardless of the costs or consequences. And we must hand it to them, they have succeeded. This relatively small group of extreme conservatives has managed to bring the government of the most powerful nation in the world to a screeching halt. They refuse to compromise with anyone who dares to disagree with their ideology of extremely limited government, including members of their own party. They are prepared to use any tactic necessary to get their way, including shutting down the government and threatening to not pay our nation’s bills.
They say, “We want our country back.” One couldn’t conceive of a more unbelievably arrogant and ignorant statement. It is every American’s country, and our government should responsibly reflect that. Never mind that the Democratic House candidates collected more in total votes than the Republican candidates nationwide did in 2012. Forget that Mitt Romney lost a presidential election on the issue of Obamacare, for which the far right in Congress shut down the government and which they have attempted to repeal, delay, or defund 41 separate times.
What does the far right understand that the rest of us don’t? Do these Tea Partiers know of some secret panacea for our nation’s problems that we don’t know of or can’t comprehend? The answer is a categorical no: they believe in one thing only, shrinking government no matter what the costs or consequences. They are a purely destructive force, encapsulated in Representative Marlin Stutzman’s (R-IN) unbelievable recent remark that they, the far right, “have to get something” out of the government shutdown even though they “don’t know what that even is.”
The behavior of these elements in our political system undermines our democracy. Our system of governance, whether operating in Washington, Columbus or Oxford, is based on finding solutions to problems through negotiation, persuasion and compromise—not taking the government and economy hostage to completely get one’s way. Lubricating this process is the understanding that tactical precedent matters; essentially the “golden rule” we were raised on: don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you, lest you open Pandora’s box.
The most tragic part of all this is that the far right will not go away; they are entrenched in their Gerrymandered, heavily-red districts. So, get used to the dysfunction in Washington; the far right’s arrogance and ignorance shows no signs of abating.