Just listen to the comments of political leaders during the current government shutdown. Speaker Boehner proudly proclaims that we have "a divided government" with the Republicans controlling one third of the branches. Uhm, having control of the House of Representatives is NOT controlling one-third of the government, unless he really meant that the GOP also controls the Senate. Was he mistaken when he made this statement, or was he actually being honest? Yes, the Republicans control the House, but the Democrats have a majority in the Senate. But, does a majority matter anymore? With the Cloture Rule and the excessive (and abusive) use of the filibuster by the Republicans, are Americans really aware that despite a couple hundred years of democracy of majority rule in government, the Republicans have usurped rule "by the minority?" Do elections matter anymore to Republicans?
For my entire adult life (until the election of Barack Obama), the majority set the public policy agendas for the country. The minority would seek to influence policy through negotiation, but ultimately would cede to the will of the majority, since they were elected into the dominate role by the electorate. But now, regardless of who wins elections, the minority can use pre-existing rules and twist them into seizing control of the government. How else can a small band (80 or so) Tea Party members of the Republican Caucus take hold of the House and render the Speaker mute (pun intended). How can a small number of Republican Senators convince their Conference to obstruct the majority at every turn and demand the minorities' agenda take priority over the majority? Can anyone recall when freshman Senators could have entered the Senate and immediately become the leaders of their conference over existing senior members? How could this happen?
I submit this has happened because American democracy has come to a tipping point, and the momentum is pushing us all over a cliff. Money, driven by the Citizens United decision, has stripped the long held traditional power structure of Congress in favor of up-start independently financed members to ignore and outright attack existing leaders within their own parties. The threat of being "primaried" by the base of their party now controls members of Congress instead of general elections. News media, filled with financial incentives have become the beacons of messaging, promoting misinformation designed to feed into the ignorance of their viewers who are typically , too "busy" to pay attention to actual news (or preoccupied with sensationalized eye-grabbing "breaking news" manufactured to elicit emotionally exciting reactions).
Case in point. Being someone folks like to ask for guidance on politics, a secretary where I work asked me for my thoughts. When she raised the issue of the government shutdown and potential default, I asked her opinion. Immediately, she gleefully stated she was "thrilled the government was shut down and hoped we default in order to send a message that the government spends too much money!" Can you guess what television news network she relies upon for her "political" information (I'm being kind, "infotainment" is what she's viewing as it certainly is not real news). Rather than educate her on what the debt ceiling actually involves, I chose instead to limit my response to; "Be careful what you wish for!" Multiply this secretary by the millions of the viewers of Fox News and you begin to appreciate how ignorant folks are.
As I have stated many times before, those supporting the Tea Party are well meaning people. They just have no idea that their support runs contrary to the very American principles of liberty they have been told to believe. I mean, the Framers of the Constitution constructed the federal government to BE the government of the United States. Not sure what I am talking about? Taking a closer look at the Constitution, you will note that the Framers did not use language that included the words "Federal Government." They instead used the interchangeable term "United States" instead. Take a look at Article VI of the Constitution; "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;..." (emphasis added). Take a look at the 10th Amendment, the linchpin of the Tea Party's argument for States' Rights; "The Powers not delegated to the United States..." (emphasis added).
My point is this: the Framers specifically identified the National Government as THE UNITED STATES, and NOT the Federal government! As a result, this constant noise being heard from the Republicans and their supporting Media have erroneously convinced folks (like the secretary) that it is their patriotic duty to shut down the Federal Government AND to lead it to financial ruin, all without a clue that by doing so, they are promoting and supporting an actual attack on the United States of America! Some patriots, right!?
Stop the nonsense and return respect to the traditional democracy created by the Framers and the Constitution. Stop listening to media whose entire objective is to hijack democracy for their own ideological leaders instead of preserving it for all Americans. And stop supporting the efforts to harm the United States of America and start working instead to preserving the objectives of "One Nation, Under G-d, Indivisible, with Liberty AND justice FOR ALL!" As President Andrew Jackson once said, "There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses." If some truly believe the games should continue, then we all lose. So "be careful what you wish for!"