Long ago, while attending college, I discovered the graffiti in my title written on a bathroom stool door. Along side it was “If the opposite of pro is con, is the opposite of progress Congress?” Inquiring minds want to know. We REALLY want to know. The recent debacle in the Senate holding up the passage of unemployment extensions that will soon affect over 2 million people in our great nation is unfortunately the symptom, not the disease. The well intended, at loggerheads with the out of touch, have drawn a line in the sand that neither one seems to have the courage to cross, and in the process have left millions and their families with nothing. We weren’t left holding the bag; we were left without a bag! Trying to be as generous as I possibly can be about this horrible lack of action, I am left wondering if we are victims of friendly fire or collateral damage. Not that it makes much difference, injured or dead is injured or dead. I suspect it is a blend of both friendly fire and collateral damage, so I’m going to call the democrats position on this “friendly fire” and the republicans position “collateral damage.”
Friendly fire wound up hitting the wrong target! In their zeal to show the republicans that they shouldn’t have to fund the extension because no one ever had to in the past was, well, that was cutting off MY nose to spite THEIR face. Democrats refusing to bend to republican demands that the extension be fully funded, dug their heels in, and in an attempt to carpet bomb the republicans on principle, they wound up taking a large battalion of their own unemployed out. Soon the dead and injured will count in the 2 million+ range; a brutal statistic when all is said and done.
Collateral damage, on the other hand, also decided that it was a good time to also entrench their forward lines and lay siege to the fortress by screaming about the importance of controlling spending while we are still in the clutches of the Great Recession. Unfortunately, this is like trying to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while it’s sinking – it’s purely just the wrong idea at the wrong time. If your neighbor’s house was on fire, you wouldn’t automatically think throwing dirt at it was a “good idea” simply because someone said “now” is a good time to start conserving water, would you? There’s a time and a place for everything and now is not the time for deficit hawks to be spotlighted on center stage. They truly are representing the minority opinion on this issue and forcing their ideas on the people when the people, by a significant majority, support further borrowing to continue to fuel an economic recovery. It was nice to see at least two republican senators break out from the Nazi like lockstep of the Republican Party and vote for passage of the unemployment extension even though cloture eventually failed none the less.
Ryan Grim, of HuffPost, provides compelling supporting arguments to my positions above in his article “Mayberry Machiavellis: Obama Political Team Handcuffing Recovery” posted July 6, 2010. In his article, Mr. Grim coveys the following: [In another recent survey, three quarters of respondents favored increased social spending over deficit cutting. “With unemployment close to ten percent and millions still out of work, it is too early to start cutting back benefits and health coverage for workers who lost their jobs,” said 74 percent of voters, while only 21 percent agreed with this statement: “With the federal deficit over one trillion dollars, it is time for the government to start reducing spending on health care subsidies and unemployment benefits for the unemployed.”]. Have we lost all trust in the wisdom, insight, and commitment of the people of America? Are our politicians now smarter than we are? Have we finally achieved a state in which the will of the people be damned?
And Obama doesn’t get out of this mess without at least a dishonorable mention! The person that we expect to display leadership, compassion, and promotion of the will of the people has been virtually silent on this issue. I found it offensive that just days before the Senate was to go out on their 4’TH of July recess, Obama was hawking passage of the Wall Street Reform Bill instead. Talk about having your priorities screwed up! There was no way that bill was going to pass before the recess whereas with some leadership millions could have possibly been saved some great hardships by the passage of an unemployment extension. It seems that not only quick passage of unemployment extensions is called for immediately upon Congresses return, but apologies should be forthcoming all around!
Yes, flush twice. Maybe we can flood these fools into sanity before we have to remove them from office for sins against humanity!