It is always interesting to watch the GOP in the Obama years as they zombie-up and do nothing except grumble, criticize, and complain; accuse, indict, and convict. We the people have elected a President who, according to the GOP, can do nothing right. Not only is the President wrong but so are the American people. They are so glad that Congress is basically their bitch and that they can correct the mistaken policies that the President and the American people wish to pursue. They are secretly congratulating themselves that they have been able to hold our feet to the cleansing fires of austerity and have been able to keep employment low so that they could continue to blame the Democrats for high unemployment and bad fiscal policy, even while making it impossible for Democrats to have any say in setting fiscal policy since just after the original stimulus plan. OK, through a less than pretty strategy we did get the tax increase at the top, but through a technicality we remained saddled with Grover Norquist.
This week the Republicans have been making my head whip around like that poor possessed woman in The Exorcist. First we have had to listen to them insisting that the Boston bomber should be treated like an enemy combatant even though he is an American citizen. What? When an American joined terrorists in the Middle East and was killed in a drone strike, Republicans were appalled that this traitor was not treated as an American citizen and given a fair trial. Now we have another American, however much we might want to disavow him as a citizen, and this time they are irate that he is not being treated as an enemy combatant. Whiplash! It looks like the only strategy these two complaints have in mind is to indict Obama. Why is our Congress fighting our President when America has so many real enemies? Good question.
These guys are playing a long game of their own. They plan to hold America in place, to not let it move one inch to the left, until they can take office in 2016 and pursue the agenda that they mistakenly believe is the road back to a “morally straight” America, which, if we are totally honest, has never existed. We are human beings; we are flawed; we do the best we can. The GOP will then create the Fundamentalist Heaven on Earth that they swear we will all be grateful for and they will distort America in whatever ways they must to bring the corporations back and keep them here by busting the unions. And we will drill happily ever after until the Rapture.
The second thing that happened this week was this stuff with the air traffic controllers and the Sequester. The Senate came together and unanimously passed a bill to keep control towers open on the eve of their Spring break. Wow! That was the fastest move I have seen this Congress make in the last five years! What, no filibuster? I didn’t see that kind of hustle when toddlers lost their Head Start programs.
I don’t know that I have ever been more aware of how little power citizens have in our government than I have in recent years. We can write our Congressional representatives, we can write editorials, we can march in demonstrations and carry signs, but these behaviors have had almost no effect on Republicans who have their districts zipped up and squared away through gerrymandering and tradition. If they are able to change the election laws in the other ways they would like they will make it even more difficult to unseat Republicans. Yes, I know this is the way American politics works and that all of these things fall under the category of strategy, but there must be lines that are drawn that make some things off limits; some things too manipulative and underhanded to be legal. Where are the lines? They are disappearing. Obama’s new digital grassroots campaign strategies have actually given me the greatest hope that the average citizen can still participate in government but soon these techniques will be co-opted by both the GOP and by the marketplace and their effectiveness will be neutralized.
There seems to be only one way out of this untenable situation, out from under the party that is usurping the rights of American citizens and changing the landscape of our democracy perhaps forever. Elect Democrats in 2014!