Editor’s note: Walt Amses is a writer and former educator who lives in North Calais.
While the world tries to figure out how to deal with the uncertainty around America’s meeting its fiscal responsibilities and the country wallows through the latest government shutdown, Tea Party Republicans are busy thinking of new ways to nullify the results of November’s election.
The Affordable Care Act was on the ballot as was a Mitt Romney platform crafted by Paul Ryan channeling Ayn Rand. In an electoral landslide, voters rejected the politics of austerity — which are failing around the globe — in favor of a second term for Barack Obama, his policies and his philosophy toward governing.
Additionally, Democrats continued control of the Senate and generated a million votes more than Republicans in the House of Representatives, the GOP maintaining their majority largely based on gerrymandered districts in the South and Midwest, redrawn to reflect their fantasy of a growing white majority in a country that is daily becoming more and more diverse.
Like it or not, agree or disagree, this was the way it turned out. More Americans supported the president and perhaps more importantly, the Affordable Care Act, than did not. In a democracy, this is what we live with until there is another chance at the ballot box to either reject or affirm what’s going on. But the far right is holding the nation hostage, shutting down the government in order to “negotiate” on the ACA.
What used to be the party of patriotism, with flag lapel pins as much a fetish as guns, is enthusiastically engaged in one of the most unpatriotic endeavors since the Civil War: subverting the foundations of democracy.
Although negotiating sounds reasonable on its face, health insurance reform is law, passed by Congress, determined constitutional by the Supreme Court and supported nationally in what we call the general election. The minority party deciding that they’d like to renegotiate a law they don’t like — any law — obstructs the democratic process.
But a fringe faction of what is quickly becoming a fringe party has managed to paralyze Congress, the executive branch and the entire country. What used to be the party of patriotism, with flag lapel pins as much a fetish as guns, is enthusiastically engaged in one of the most unpatriotic endeavors since the Civil War: subverting the foundations of democracy.
So called “moderate” Republicans don’t hold much sway with the Tea Party, which represent less than 18 percent of the country yet — since landing in the Capitol during the 2010 mid-term elections — has managed to transform the GOP into the party of “no” and the country into a plodding recovery that dooms ordinary people (who they call “takers”) into lives of continuing struggle.
Polls apparently have begun indicating that Americans are solidly against what the zealots are doing and that they may even be in the almost unthinkable position of losing their House majority in 2014. Logic would indicate a change in tactics if not the substance of their played-out ideas, but logic plays no role in the new GOP.
Their solution instead is limiting Americans’ opportunity to express their preferences at the ballot box, introducing initiatives to restrict voting almost immediately after the Supreme Court invalidated portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Predictably, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia and South Carolina led the backward charge, setting the stage for dingbats like Louie Gohmert to continue dictating the national agenda.
Republicans have complained that Barack Obama is willing to negotiate with Syria, Russia and Iran but not with them. Perhaps it’s easier to engage the evil empire than Ted Cruz or Michelle Bachman.
But more than likely the president is taking a stand in opposition to a GOP that has effectively been hijacked by radicals perfectly willing to risk destroying America to get their way. Unfortunately for them, we’re beginning to realize that while the Tea Party is locked in, the rest of the country is locked out.