Just look at what has happened since the re-election of Barack Obama. Has anything come out of Congress addressing the important needs for infrastructure improvements and spending? Nope. Has anything been done to assist middle class families get by (ie., tax breaks or incentives when those families face crippling student loan options for their children to obtain a quality education)? Does anyone else feel a bit uncomfortable with the current talking points and narratives that "not everyone is cut out for college?" Although I agree with that sentiment, I cannot agree with it being used in a broad sense. If money is the only reason some are not "cut out for college" then we must do something to remove that hurdle so that students otherwise capable of successfully obtaining a higher education have the chance to do so!
What about all of the recent efforts to cut food stamp assistance to the poor? Under the guise that they are "moochers and takers", the poor not only take the blame for a country's fiscal house being in disorder, our Congress makes sure they are also the first to suffer with cuts to supporting programs. Food? I mean, who needs to eat. It reminds me of the old joke "eating and sex…its like breathing - you never miss it unless you are not getting enough!" No one in America should be starving for food. No one. But that's "socialism" you say! I guarantee you that a vast majority of Americans couldn't define socialism even if given a primer by talking head pundits.
Speaking of talking head pundits, the Sarasota County Republican Party did it again! Last year they named Donald Trump their "Statesman of the Year" - apparently because of his leading efforts to portray Obama as "UnAmerican" and ineligible to be President (thanks to Ted Cruz, we now know how hypocritical those on the Far Right can really be). So this year, the group names Fox New's very own Sean Hannity as their Statesman of the year! Sean Hannity? When did he negotiate a treaty with a foreign country? When did he address a major policy problem and provide solutions that led to a betterment of society? "Statesman" is defined as "one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies" (Merriman-Webster Dictionary). Where in this definition can anyone find anything Mr. Hannity has done to deserve this illustrious title? Regardless, the local GOP's event was filled to the brim with a reported 1600 in attendance. And what did Hannity say to the crowd that got it on its feet? "We should be so lucky' Hannity said of a shutdown..."there's one day we don;'t have to pay taxes, anyway." Huh? His assessment of the GOP if a shut down happens? "...it will lead them to great success!" (Sarasota Herald Tribune, 9.28/2013). "Success" for whom? Sounds really statesmanlike, doesn't it? I guess after losing the White House to the Democrats, Republicans need to get themselves excited over anything they can get. But Republicans (once again) have forgotten that a vast majority of Americans do not agree with their extreme views. Most Americans are suspect that the talking points and narratives about ObamaCare are slightly "off-base" and have become viewed for what they are - political rhetoric. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 57% of Americans believe a compromise must be made to avoid a shut-down, yet 71% of those identifying themselves a "Tea Partiers" want the government to shut down. Are so blinded by a hate for Obama, their ideology of demand, demand, extort and if losing, "take the ball and go home" is all they have? Most Americans have not forgotten the last time the GOP pushed for the debt ceiling to be ignored. Thinking themselves clever, the GOP pushed the country to the brink, resulting in America's credit rating to be downgraded. Why? So they could then blame Obama as the first sitting President to preside over an economy where America's credit suffered. This was a clever twist on the concept of the GOP killing their parents and then demanding mercy from the court as an orphan. Despite their best efforts, Obama was re-elected. Yet now polling indicates that both parties will be blamed for a shut down. But what is this ultimate threat really about? ObamaCare? Has anyone really thought about the real impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act? Has anyone been really honest in this debate?
So where are we now? Sen. Ted Cruz stands before an empty Senate Chamber (except for a few of his fellow minions, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio) to take up space to make a point that ObamaCare must be repealed. Except the entire effort was nothing more than a self-promoting charade. When the chance came up to delay discussion on the Senate budget bill including provisions to fund the government (including ObamaCare), who voted to close the debate so a vote may be had? None other than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and EVERY SINGLE SENATOR. The Cloture Vote was 100-0! So much for wanting to delay anything…until after Cruz had the national attention of the media and his less than educated supporters in the Tea Party.
Ah the Tea Partiers. Hello folks. They are NOT a movement any longer. The sooner the American public recognizes they ARE the GOP, the sooner they will be marginalized and real work can be done again in Congress. I have met many Tea Party supporters and I have found they are legitimately concerned about America and the course we are on. The only problem with them is that they lack an understanding of what America was really founded on and how the Constitution created a system of Federalism. As a result, the gullible masses of the Tea Party blindly follow the talking points and narratives of the ideologically supporting for-profit media. As such, they are simply the victims of manipulation. Hell, even when the movement started, their very own founders were kept in the dark believing they were a real grass roots movement. They had no clues they were being manipulated by the Koch Brothers and their funding was Astro-turf and not home grown. But where is the media to ensure distortions are identified and corrected? Where is the Media to shame others within the industry for perpetuating lies in order to only abandon their traditional roll as the "Fourth Rail " of government, but to now become the adjunct for political persuasion and power? Why else would those on the Far Right still "tar and feather" the liberally control "Lame Stream Media?" How can these very same folks believe this while also bragging that Fox News has the largest audience in the broadcast media? If Fox is the biggest and greatest, aren't they then a major player in the Media? Perhaps then the Left should begin labeling Fox and its fellow media as the "Fake Stream Media?" But labels are just that - intellectually lazy approaches that substitute real discourse on real problems, not those created to distract. Which gets me to my main point.
The Democrats have allowed all of the misinformation about ObamaCare to linger in the hopes most Americans will figure out the Republicans' real intent - to delegitimize a Democrat in the White House (they have engaged in this same tactic ever since Woodrow Wilson's Presidency). Same old, same old. But Democrats have not adjusted to the fact that "Fake Stream Media" now has a bigger influence over shaping public opinion than ever. How else would an entertainer and political flame thrower like Sean Hannity get standing ovations for making proclamations that the Framers of the Constitution would consider treasonous? Why haven't the Democrats done a better job of defining ObamaCare? Why have they allowed the GOP to control the message since 2010? Why do they allow the GOP to set an agenda that brings us repeatedly (again) to the brink of self-made crises? Because the Democrats believe that the GOP will eventually implode under the weight of their own distortions and narratives? But how many Americans now believe everything the GOP says about "Progressives, Communists and Socialists?" How many Americans believe that Sarah Palin was right when labeling government review boards as "Death Panels" or Michele Bachmann's claims that ObamaCare will "Kill Women, Children and Senior Citizens?" Democrats dismiss this nonsense for what it is, nonsense. But uneducated Americans, susceptible to manipulation by the likes of Cruz, Hannity, Trump, Palin and Bachmann see it only in the light cast down by their ideological leaders. They do not have enough sense to realize they are being manipulated. An supporters of the Democratic Party seem disinterested in detailing the hypocrisy of the Right? Why? Perhaps because there is enough hypocrisy on the Left as well!?
When Obama hit his stride with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Republicans immediately crafted a message that those following Obama were "Sheeple" who "drink the Obama koolaid." Doesn't it still amaze you how many folks that preach a life that is totally opposite from their public stance? How many "religious and family oriented" men and woman get caught up in sex scandals? How many preach law and order only to find themselves indicted for wrongdoing themselves? How many Republicans AND Democrats fall into this category of shame?
So once again we are at a crossroads. Democrats are just as much to blame for the ideological wars splitting our great nation apart. Both seek power and the money that flows from interest groups. The Media has become lapdogs that have abdicated their long-standing role of reporting news, instead of creating it. Media's First Amendment rights were created to allow it freely critique government and political affairs, not become their adjunct communication arms. Until Americans can trust a real watchdog Media, America is in jeopardy of being a stagnant and divided nation. It's time for REAL Americans to stand up and demand real leadership from members of Congress, Enough rhetoric. Enough self-aggrandizing promotion. Enough gamesmanship and brinkmanship. We need LEADERSHIP! If they cannot get it done, it's time to Sweep Congress Clean in 2014. Republicans AND Democrats! As President George Washington once wrote; "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself frightful despotism. But this leads to a more formal and permanent despotism." And the Tea Party calls Obama a tyrant? Revenge is not an American virtue. It is a current political play for naked power and its time for Americans to demand we elect real leaders that put ideology aside and America first!