They’re trying to turn back the clock to re-fight the 2012 election. Or the Civil War.
At first, many of us had trouble keeping track of what the Tea Party GOP wants in exchange for ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. But now it’s clear: What they’re really after are the same things they’ve wanted since 2010, and even earlier. Certainly since President Obama was first elected in 2008. The fact that the rest of the country wants to move forward with continuing to rebuild the economy and creating jobs doesn’t make a dent in their stubborn ideology.
Conservatives don’t want to move forward because that would mean admitting they lost the 2012 election — and that the country is making progress under President Obama. That forward momentum would be even more significant if it wasn’t for GOP obstructionists who have been fighting against the best interests of the country since President Obama was elected in 2008.
Didn’t the GOP already try to ram gutting Social Security and Medicare down our throats? Haven’t they spent enough energy trying to take away women’s reproductive rights? And for the love of whoever you pray to (or not), haven’t they gotten past the ridiculous notion that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Muslim secretly working to sabotage the country?
Apparently not. Representative Paul Ryan is back in the forefront, and he’s still hammering away at Social Security and Medicare. He’s still pushing for a “conscience clause” to be written into Obamacare so businesses can opt out of providing birth control for employees if they have a moral or religious objection. At the same time, Republican-led states are chipping away at every aspect of Roe v. Wade they can get away with, making legal abortions more difficult for women to get. Oh, and the GOP House cut food stamps, so women and families would be on their own if they can’t afford birth control and don’t have access to a safe, legal abortion. Which takes us back to 1973.
On Sunday, Tea Partiers rallied outside the White House, brandishing Confederate flags and hateful rhetoric. One charming fellow shouted that President Obama should leave town or put down the Quran and come out with his hands up. People like him, calling for impeachment and worse, were egged on by members of Congress — including Tea Party-backed Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee and Representative Michele Bachmann — who are now blaming President Obama for the government shutdown the Tea Party GOP orchestrated.
But we know the truth, thanks to Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen, who posted proof of the GOP House sneakily changing the rules, giving Majority Leader Eric Cantor (or his designee) sole power to call a vote on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.
These extremists don’t care about the truth. They don’t care how many people are out of work — and I’m not just talking about 800,000 federal employees and counting, because the GOP hasn’t lifted a finger to create jobs since the 2012 election. They don’t care that people are getting cut off from federal subsidies they need to scrape by on the measly salaries they make. And they certainly don’t care that the country is headed for economic disaster that could have international ramifications.
Why? Because they don’t actually care about this country. They hate government and don’t mind saying so. They want to live in a country where everyone plays by their rules, and no one else’s. Bill Moyers said it best: “At least, let’s name this for what it is: sabotage of the democratic process. Secession by another means.”
So now we turn the calendar back to the Civil War. These guys aren’t kidding around, as evidenced by the billboard posted in Missouri calling for a five-state secession, which Chris wrote about yesterday.
Part of me is inclined to say, “Fine. Go start your own country.” But that’s not what America is all about. Part of me is inclined to say, as my mother taught me, “Ignore the bullies and they’ll go away.” But we have to shed light on the hateful, narrow-minded, destructive views of the Tea Party.
So what I say instead is this: It’s time for everyone who cares about this country — Democrat, Republican or otherwise — to stand up for what we believe in. The rest of us have to remind our fellow Americans what this country can and should be. What’s happening right now certainly isn’t it. And a resolution to the debt ceiling and government shutdown crises won’t be the end of the hostage-taking if true democracy doesn’t prevail.
In the words of the Michigan Democratic Party, “2014 starts today.” We need to rally for the 2014 midterm elections and we need to start doing it now. Conservatives may have big bankrolls, but we have big voices and big hearts, and we’ve overcome the money gap before.
I have absolute faith that a group of well-organized candidates and citizens who want what’s best for this country can surely defeat a small subset of random crazy people trying to bring down the country by ranting nonsense and carrying homemade signs.
[Photo credit: GoodDream | Imgur/Reddit]