BY DENISE CLAY/ Want to go to the Liberty Bell?
Want to check out the President’s House and see how George Washington’s slaves lived?
Nope. Can’t do that either.
Want to get your Small Business Administration loan together so that you can start your business?
Buzz! Wrong answer!
You can’t do any of that stuff because for the first time since 1996, the Federal Government is in the midst of a shutdown. Because the Republicans in the House of Representatives want to change the way we create laws in this country, they’ve decided that they’d rather showcase just how dysfunctional our government is right now.
(Cue Gil Scott-Heron’s “H2O Gate Blues”, specifically the line “The government you have elected has been inoperative…”)
What do I mean when I say House Republicans want to change the way we create laws in this country? I mean they’re demanding President Barack Obama ditch the Affordable Care Act in order for them to pass legislation to continue funding the government.
This is kind of unprecedented because in most cases, once a law is found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court (something I’m still kind of surprised about since the Court has long since moved from being an impartial body and has become just another political organization), that’s usually it. Folks may not like it, but it’s the law. It may get chipped away at in future years, like, say, just about all of the legislation guaranteeing my civil rights, but no one usually tries to kill it retroactively.
But that’s before we got a group of people in Congress who have obviously never read the Constitution. The Affordable Care Act went through the legislative process. I know this because I watched the whole debate on C-Span in 2010. Republicans had their chance to add amendments. They didn’t. They had their chance to debate. They did.
They had their chance to mobilize their opposition, which gathered in front of Congress armed with guns, some of the most-racist signs I’ve ever seen, and the kind of bile needed to call former Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts an anti-gay slur and to spit on Congressman John Lewis of Georgia as he tried to get through the crowd to do his job.
(I’d still like to find the person who spit on Lewis. This person needs a People Who Need To Be Punched In The Face Award.)
So you had your say. That’s more than civil libertarians got when Congress and the Bush Administration rammed the USA Patriot Act down our throats, using the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks as an excuse.
And you lost. In fact, you not only lost when the law was passed, you lost when you ran a guy for President who promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act as a part of his platform. It’s the law. Deal with it.
In fact, for those of us who live in places not as backward as Pennsylvania, state health-care marketplaces have formed, Medicare and Medicaid have been expanded thanks to the 100% funding from the Feds, and folks who haven’t had access to health care for a variety of reasons are getting what they need.
(Pennsylvania let the feds handle our health-care exchange, and Gov. Tom Corbett, in a decision that surprises no one who has seen this man’s contempt for the poor up close, decided not to accept the Medicaid expansion money.)
But because we have a group of poor losers who want a do-over, the country is behind the eight-ball.
Some folks are going to try and tell you this shutdown is the fault of both parties.
You have my permission to call “Shenanigans!” on that.