Long ago I used to watch old black and white movie serials. They were exciting stories broken into short chapters shown in theaters weekly. Each chapter ended with the hero in great peril. It is from these old serials we get the phrase “cliff-hanger.” Our darling heroine clings to the edge of a cliff, struggling to save herself, and the booming voice of the narrator asks: “Will Julie Bishop be able to hang on until help arrives to save her? Will Buster Crabbe find our heroine in time? And what became of Mischa Auer?” The narrator’s questions would build the excitement to ensure you would come back to the theater next week. But sometimes the narrator’s questions didn’t seem to line up with the action on the screen.
The partial Government Shutdown which we are witnessing today, is like that.
We have been told that shutting down the government would be horrific. We have endured countless talking heads in the media lecturing us about how stupid and catastrophic this shutdown would be. We have been warned that those in Congress who stood firm would be destroyed politically.
This horrific, stupid, and catastrophic shutdown has been going on for a week now. We have seen horrific, stupid, and horrificallystupid - Catastrophic can be seen warming up in the bullpen.
Much of what we are hearing and seeing is the government’s response to our genuine effort to rein in spending. There is real pain felt by many men and women that work for the Federal government. But for those who seek to expand the government into every corner of our lives this suffering is not enough. All Americans must be made to suffer in order to protect their idea of what our government should be. This administration and its allies in the senate believe in a philosophy that reverses President Reagan’s quote:
We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.
These people believe that the government is America. The government isn’t a means to an end, but rather that it is a religious expression. It is more than a collection of people in geography; it is the Hegelian God State. Barack Obama is very clever when he describes his ideal: "The government is us." We are not the government. The government is only a small part of what we are.
It is very true that there are many threats and crises which require a strong government to handle. Abroad there are enemies that plot to harm us every minute of every day. At home there have been natural disasters which damaged many cities and small towns. The work to clean up and rebuild continues, and only a fool would believe that no more disasters will ever come. Many of our most vulnerable neighbors depend on the Federal government for food, shelter, and medicine. Only a monster would tell them to fend for themselves. There are obviously many things that our government can do, and do well.
Because our government is important and worthwhile we need to make it work. But it is only a tool, like a hammer, it can help make things or it can help destroy things. People use a tools, tools don’t use people.
World-renowned psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow tells us “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” to warn us that people can become trapped by their tools, ascribing the same fix to every problem. Too many people in our government are trapped by believing that every problem has a governmental solution. That is not true; our government must be reduced to doing what it can do well and prevented from doing what causes only harm.
When you examine the problem in the most basic terms the government shutdown is the most sensible way to respond to the differences about how to govern our nation. Considering legislative legerdemain that took place to enact the PPAACA (Obamacare), shutting down the government to get a one year delay on the personal mandate and to repeal the tax on hearing aids and pace makers seems a tepid response.
Without this extreme action and the believable threat of even more severe measures, there will be no negotiations. President Obama, Senator Reid, and Representative Pelosi will not give an inch; they must be defeated. They have worked for this ideal for their entire careers. They are fully vested in their ideology and will not change their minds.
I believe that before the debt ceiling is reached, a deal will made. The President will create a photo-op so that he looks presidential and will agree to sign what Speaker Boehner and Reid will have worked out. The Republicans will get some small thing declare victory and relent. All will return to status quo and the focus will change to the races in the Senate and Congress.
The train wreck that is Obamacare will continue to drag down our economy inflicting more suffering on more Americans than the partial government shutdown ever could. Our children will be pushed further into debt and the necessary reforms will not be made. You won't hear that from the talking heads.