After watching endless hours of television Wednesday night to make sure some semblance of sanity returned to the American political system, the government reopened and the debt ceiling raised, reality crept into my world like a cat that slinks his way in unfamiliar territory. The high and mighty Republicans claiming, as John Boehner would say, “We fought the good fight, but we lost,” were words chilling and foreboding. The Republicans did not lose; no one in their party who serves in the House or Senate lost his or her seat of power or was put in financial limbo by being laid off or threatened because life saving treatment was not available.
On the contrary, they managed for 16 days to throw a childish tantrum that had no rational basis in fact. At the end of the day, they suffered no consequences whatsoever.
The Republican Tea Party walked away relatively unscathed like the perpetrator of a hit-and-run accident who leaves the scene of a crime and is never caught. As the days and the weeks go by they will spin tales of why their actions were noble and good for the country, and as midterm elections draw closer those tales will prevaricate on the truth with regularity.
Senator Chuck Schumer got it right when he said October 16 was not a day of joy but rather a somber day: a day that showed a reflection of people in our government who like a fun-house mirror are distorted, people with convoluted ideas and a complete lack of compassion. As long as they are in office and walk the halls of Congress we should be worried, very worried, that their ideology and subsequent actions retain a seat at the table of American democracy.