Part of being a grown up is dealing with things you don’t like but making the most of a bad situation. This morning, I walked into the Department of Driver Services, known in my state as DDS, to renew my driver’s license. I like being more punk rock than the next guy so I was 19 days illegal as hell, so getting my license was a priority. Based on my knowledge from the previous time of renewal, I brought along no identification other than my current expired license and a smile I found deep in my darkened soul. When my number was called, twenty minutes after filling out my paperwork, I walked to the counter and the bouncing ray of sunshine (sarcasm and embellishment are the cornerstones of online journalism) announced, “you have to have two other forms of ID, I can issue you a temporary but you must return in four months.” Before I could ask a question or attempt an argument, she countered eye roll with “in July 2012, sir, a law was passed requiring this.” I thanked her and left with my temp ID grumbling like a true American.
Damn the man.
See what I did there, Republicans? I didn’t call into a right wing radio talk show and make up facts that don’t really exist. I didn’t stomp my feet and demand to speak to the woman’s manager. The law blows. All of my information is in the computer. When the police stop me for speeding or for driving while white (more sarcasm and embellishment, because that never happen in the world, ever) they know who I am down to what kind of spaghetti sauce I prefer (spicy cardinale). The law is stupid because it adds more bureaucracy, time, money, and hassle to a system already swimming in it. But I know my realistic, tangible options.
a) I could run for a seat in the Georgia state legislature, get elected, then sponsor a bill that would eliminate the need for any of the crap I went through today.
b) get involved with local politicians, people much more qualified than I who don’t blog, tweet, Facebook, or have an internet footprint like mine that would prevent them from holding a seat on an elementary school talent show panel
The current batch of Congressional Republicans, 49 in the House, 5 in the Senate, who call themselves “The Tea Party Caucus” have not only bypassed any noble alternatives to the Affordable Care Act that went into law today, they’ve helped shut down the government with one of the biggest political temper tantrums in history. This shutdown is the worst John Hughes movie, ever. The football team’s running the whole school but there’s no Andie, Ducky, Ferris, or Uncle Buck to cheer for.
To be fair and respectful of the ideological process involved with governing and the current issues between the political parties, everyone’s to blame for the shutdown. But the Tea Party Caucus is the most to blame because they don’t know how to count.
There’s 54 of them, and 461 that are not, them. Yet, even with their minority, not only will Lincoln be lonely at his Memorial today, but millions of people who work for the government or have their livelihoods directly affected by the government will be adversely touched. And those 54, the same number as a football squad in a Hughes flick? They don’t care.
Because of redistricting aka gerrymandering, many of these extreme right wing Tea Party types aren’t worried about being blamed for the shutdown or the obstructionist behavior they’ve shown toward President Barack Obama since they arrived in 2010 and 2012. In states like Texas, Kansas, Utah, Georgia and South Carolina, the blocks of voters these people represent are decidedly anti-Obama. They literally are doing the will of the people, their people, in their small areas of the country where they live in Rush Limbaugh listening echo chambers being cheered on to “change Washington”. The problem is these 54 fools don’t know the first thing about governing.
In 2011, after Obama won re-election, House Speaker John Boehner, a formerly reasonable, but dedicated conservative Republican said this about the President and “Obamacare”.
Today, he’s being held hostage, with 54 guns to his head, to do anything he can to repeal, delay, roll back, and defeat a law signed on March 23, 2010. These 54 people have hijacked an entire government, ignoring the fact that bi-partisanship is how laws are passed and enacted, and made everyone in their party fear for their jobs. Obamacare is the law of the land. Instead of using the proper platform to change things – elections – , they’re hurting the country and imploding their party.
Think about it. You probably have a sphere of influence of 20 to 25 family, friends, acquaintances. Now think about the 2 dumbest ones and the 2 craziest ones. Would you want them deciding how Christmas traditions were conducted at your house?
It’s time John Boehner fell on the sword and showed real leadership even if it kills his own political career. I admit. I’ve cheered for Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club once or twice. John Boehner needs to Richard Vernon his Breakfast Club.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters. He’s the published author of two books, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, available on Amazon.com for kindle and in paperback from Lulu.com. And yes, he’s aware that Barry Manilow knows he raids his wardrobe.