Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Destination Unknown

The Dangers of the Standoff in Congress

Monday, October 7, 2013
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The turbulent trajectory the Republican Party sent our nation’s well-being through with the passage of bills that were guaranteed to be rejected in the Senate and cause a government shutdown has most shaking their heads in disbelief.

But this is not the first time a political group filled with intransigent, supposed patriots has tried not only to pollute the waters of moral decency but to blame the group on the side of compassion as the perpetrators of a heinous act.

Called the “Fire-Eaters,” Southern Democrats who staunchly supported the enslavement of African Americans claimed that it was not their perverse belief in the institution of the slavery of blacks or their religious-based racism that would cause war and possible disunion of the United States of America but those who advocated for freedom of black people in America. They further proclaimed that the election of a man like Abraham Lincoln would be the cause of a civil war.

The adept and politically savvy Mr. Lincoln responded to this charge on the campaign trail of 1860 with a metaphor that described how lavishly insipid that kind of thinking was. He told the story of man travelling down the road who is met by an armed robber. “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver or I shall kill you, and then you will be the murderer.’”

Today self-righteous Republican/Tea Party leaders tell anyone who cares to listen that it is not their idea to shut down the government or next week not to increase the debt ceiling; it is the Democrats’.

Yet, much like the robber in Lincoln’s story, the idea that a party can submit unreasonable demands and use the full faith and credit of the U.S. government as a hostage or bargaining chip to obtain what they seek is not only disingenuous but ultimately dangerous to the very essence of democracy, for if this becomes the “new normal,” a strategy that can be used over and over by either party, then we have crossed the Rubicon and are heading for uncharted territory.

Politicians especially should not throw caution to the wind of political fortune and look for that “15 minutes of fame” to promote disingenuous ideology as a platform for their selfish ambitions. When knowledge of cuts in government services because the government is not funded can cause potential harm to the American people, it should be the duty of every legislator to try and prevent that from occurring.

And when legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has been passed into law, signed by President Obama (who was subsequently reelected), and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, then there must also be a genuine respect for not only the law but the process that we all must abide by, a process that is our children’s future to preserve, and a process that has to this point helped elevate the United States to the status of a “role model” for democracy in the world, the envy of nations that cannot find the will or the formula to establish a democratic government of their own.

A destination unknown is fraught with peril. While polls might vacillate in coming weeks over which party will receive the most blame, the picking of winners and losers will pale in comparison to the perfidious aftermath of a strategy that uses hostage-taking as a replacement for governing as the founding fathers intended for our country.

Jeffrey R. Moualim lives in Santa Ynez. He is treasurer of the Committee of Ten Thousand, a national grassroots advocacy organization for people with hemophilia, HIV, and HCV, based n Washington, D.C., and Santa Barbara.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Whatever happen to the call to our Sec Ops to take out these Terrorists of the American Government? The "Terminate with Extreme Prejudiced", On the order of a 'Green Light'? But I forgot, "The US does NOT negotiate with Terrorists yet they do OCCUPY the Capital and yet NO police have cordoned off the area, WHY?!

dou4now (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2013 at 8:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

great piece Mr. Moualim, and it shows the perfidy and faithlessness of some of the Republicans, namely Tea Party tin hat types. The ACA/Obamacare was passed by both Houses of Congress in an earlier session, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, even Sen. John McCain states Obama's Nov. 12 re-election was a referendum on ACA: now these legislative terrorists on the far right refuse to obey the law, they want to ransom-negotiate and fortunately Obama/Senate will not play their game. The Tea Party Representatives (and Sen. Cruz) are not loyal Americans, they do not obey the laws some of which they passed, they need to move somewhere else. This shutdown caused by their intransigence will hurt and is hurting many Americans, and they do not care. Boehner should be voted out as Speaker, Cruz recalled.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Whoops! The GOP controlled house passed a funding bill that the Dem led Senate rejected. All the GOP wanted was the same 1 year delay of mandatory enrollment for individuals that Obama gave to Corporations 2 months ago.

By the way, when Obama used and executive order to exempt corporations for 1 year he violated the separation of powers and changed the law, which is unconstitutional and itself is now being challenged.

Lib-dems: the party of soft tyranny

willy88 (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2013 at 7:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, Lincoln was a Republican, and today it is the Federal Government that enslaves us. This government answers to the banks and not to the people. Shut it down.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"This government answers to the banks and not to the people." If that was true native, the govt wouldn't have shut down, c'mon now.

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great. We can start putting our money in the mattress again.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spacey, the Fed is busy printing new $100 bills and the NSA is still reading your email, only the National Parks and public services are shut down.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Koch brothers and others planned this whole shutdown gimmick, never imagining it would get this far and now become a true stalemate: they have no endgame. Say Obama negotiate, then he's giving in to their blackmail and a cabal of Republican Reps. will run the US government since they will play this unAmerican, unpatriotic, disloyal, and arrogant card again and again. Hold the line, O.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, Obama is the first president ever to declare his unwillingness to negotiate over the debt limit.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

fortunately, about 80% of Americans recognize how vacuous and untrue your comment is, Botany, just another Tea Party troll...hey, guys, don't feed this troll.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 6:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh really. Who was the other president(s) then? Either put up or shut up.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

lol, DrDan, you have no idea how many people are going to hate Obama when this is all over. Not everybody watches MSCNN propaganda, not everybody thinks this is the Republicans' fault. The Republicans aren't the ones spending a bunch of money to enforce the government shut down at public memorials and parks, those are executive actions.

Do you really think people are happy with Obamacare?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 11:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A government shut down, and we have this tomorrow??

And the woman who was executed next to her car with her child in it, that happened during a federal drill with local police and there were barriers and police everywhere. The media and police lied and said she was trying to break into the White House with her car.

Somebody is going to get lit up for recreating in a federal park soon, and that is going to be an Obama Executive Administration action.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2013 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 12:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The ACA is markedly unconstitutional. A wild redistribution (confiscation) of wealth from younger, healthier people to older, less healthy by way of out of control health insurance premiums. There is one test and one test only for consideration and passing of a bill before the US Congress. is the bill Constitutional? If not, the bill is discarded. Not do we 'think' the bill is constitutional, but IS it Constitutional? I will not participate, nor purchase under threat of IRS jack booted thugs arresting me and my family. We will engage in a cash based system, that works under the law as proposed, and will have nothing to do with government. We need to learn the difference between health insurance and health care. I have provided countless patients with free care. Never have I denied nor worked with a physician that denied health care to a person who did not have health insurance, and I barely pay for the needs and want in my life and for my family. There are not enough words to convince a person infected with liberal leanings, expecting everyone else to pay for what they need and want. Things take time, time is work, get engaged and do for yourself and others. Depend on the government and abdicate your God given proclivities and talent, and you and your community will suffer.

kramkenamez (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 5:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Supreme Court disagrees. Wild redistribution? Insurance = shared risk pool. The days of insurance companies getting fat on selective risk pools and disqualification based on pre-existing conditions are slipping away.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear East Beach: the average health insurance company in the U.S. turns a 5% annual profit.

It is the health care PROVIDERS (Hospitals and networks) that are making a fortune - because there are NO cost controls when someone else pays your medical bills (either your employer or Obamacare subsidies from taxpayers and businesses).

willy88 (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 10:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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