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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Forcing a government shut down not the way to go -- even to gain journalist subsidies

  • Holding the government hostage -- maybe it's over Obama care today, but what will it be over tomorrow?
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  • Today: “Defund Obama Care or we will shut down the government.”
    Tomorrrow: “Prohibit all abortions or we’ll shut down the government.”
    Or perhaps: “Pass the Farm Bill with increased funding for food stamps or we’ll shut down the government.”
    Or, if I can garner enough support in Congress: “Give a big subsidy to all journalists or we’ll shut down the government.”
    Any of the above are a disgrace because of the simple “OR ELSE” threat inherent in the approach.
    Where have we heard that before? Some are comparing the tactic to that of a spoiled child who can’t get his or her own way.
    “Let me have that toy or else I will cry and scream all the way out to the parking lot.”
    Funny thing is, for kids it often works. I know I’ve agreed to a package of Play-Doh or an action figure in the hopes of making it back to the car without having everyone in the store staring at me and my defiant child.
    But this isn’t child’s play. It is arm twisting of the most dispicable form because, well, it’s my arm being twisted. And yours, and every other American’s. We depend on our government to operate. And its functioning should not be held hostage under any circumstances.
    Now, those in Congress who are using this arm twisting technique for “give me my way or I’ll use my power to do the most harmful thing I can do” should truly, truly, truly be ashamed. They are standing against everything that our country stands for — a government elected by the people to do the job of government.
    Now, they are arguing they are doing what they were elected to do... to get their way. I’m not really sure that we cast our ballots for politicians to step outside of the spirit of our system, but that is what they would say.
    However, our other representatives and all those in the senate, and indeed, even the president, were also elected by the people to go to Washington D.C. to do their job.
    Our system has done what it is supposed to do. We have elected people and they have passed laws. Is there controversy? Sure. Has there ever not been?
    Have we had new bills introduced, debated, passed and failed? Yes. That’s how it works. Some of us get our way, some of us don’t. And if we don’t, we work in the system to introduce changes.
    Page 2 of 2 - But what we don’t do is say that a small, minority group of elected officials should get their way, over the votes of our other duly elected officials, because they come up with a spiteful and damaging tactic to force submission.
    Since when have Americans thought that the way to run our country is by storming our good institutions and holding government services hostage?
    Bottom line is this tactic is simple subversion. And while I respect the myriad of political views that make our government one of robust discussion and debate, I have no respect for those who put themselves above the rules, above decorum, above the spirit of our government.
    These politicians are showing a blatant disregard for the vast body of Americans whose elected officials are being hog tied by a rowdy bunch of representatives who think being elected gives them free rein to shirk the most important duty for which they were elected: to run our government.
    Shame, shame, shame on them.
    Today, maybe it’s Obamacare.
    Tomorrow maybe it’s Food Stamps.
    Or maybe its Gay Marriage.
    Or maybe it’s, well, you name it.
    If we allow this tactic to succeed now, even if we sincerely think Obamacare is bad for the country, then our entire government fails.
    Because our elected bodies will no longer govern by the strength of their numbers, but will instead be ruled by whatever bullies are most able to throw their weight around on any given day.
    Today that may be people you agree with, working toward an end you agree with.
    But who can guarantee that tomorrow the bullies shutting down our government will not be championing a cause that you find abhorent?
    To allow anyone to benefit from such an abuse of power is to do more than oil the squeeky wheel. It is to park a tank in their driveway and let them ride it at will, over anyone and any principle that stands in the way.

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