I guess I’m confused.
Tea Party activists and Republican firebrands were elected to office in droves recently on the wave of populist support; a new spin on your great-grandfather’s kind of populism: accountability in the national checkbook, fairness and restraint in the application of government, and real jobs for real people in America.
I guess I’m confused, then, after the most recent Congressionally-imposed crisis our country has endured.
Confused as to the questionable tactics used by so-called Tea Partiers and would-be twenty-first century American fatalists–those who believe that simply sharing their ideals and the business of good governance with progressive and liberal citizens would precipitate the end of civilization (though, as we have most recently seen in this debate, a belief that simply appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy). Confused as to why these trumpeted-up “fiscal hawks” would allow their own brinksmanship tactics to cost the American taxpayers $1.7 billion over the past two weeks alone.
Confused as to why anyone would believe that the destruction of the American economy would be beneficial to American families and taxpayers. Confused as to why anyone would use our government’s stability as a bargaining chip, or leverage for political power. Confused as to why we should then hold our own form of government over those third-world places we see on the news and shake our heads at.
I guess I’m confused–if the current state of national affairs requires such great sacrifice, why is that sacrifice not also being asked of the wealthiest Americans and corporations? The two greatest contributors–by far–to the deficit over the past decade have been the Bush tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the Bush tax cuts were meant as a temporary measure, why is it not reasonable in this era of shared sacrifice to simply allow those tax cuts to expire? Republicans are quick to accuse others of playing the “class warfare” card, but if they aren’t willing to ask their most fervent contributors to give a little bit in this debate–if they put more of the burden on the backs of American families and the few hard-workers left out there–just what would the GOP prefer we call this fleecing?
I guess I’m confused–if one truly believes in American exceptionalism, shouldn’t the preservation of exceptional education be a top priority? I’m confused, then, as to why this proposed bargain–being voted on in hurried fashion tonight–will force thousands and thousands of dollars in immediate debt down the throats of students. Why are we punishing our kids for going to college? When GOP policies (and some Dem ones too, to be fair) have shipped millions of blue-collar jobs overseas, why would we make it more difficult for Americans to earn that college education required for the only jobs we have left on our shores?
I guess I’m confused, because when I send my representative to Congress, I expect that person to serve the country–not to further its divide. The nation had high hopes that Congressional Republicans and Tea Partiers would come together with Democrats and pass a grand bargain that would put us on the road to stability–perhaps cue in a little “Happy Days are Here Again” while reminding everyone that bipartisan cooperation can result in something tangible, meangingful and durable.
Yet here we stand, with frayed nerves from the second apocalyptic Congressionally-inspired meltdown and little to show for it, and instead of a grand bargain we have The Corrupt Bargain.