There is only one entrance to the field of play. It is a narrow opening in a board-and-glass wall. On the field inside the wall, there is a lop-sided version of the game being played badly by two unequal teams. The additional players needed on the field want to help their teammates but the other team is blocking the opening. They have been blocking for a long time – game after game. The team that won the toss is not able to put their game plan into action. The game has never been stalled in quite this way before. This is a symbolic game.
However what happens in the real game affects real people in an entire nation, in fact in the whole world. And yet the entrance to this game which we call government has been blocked for almost eight years. The team that is supposed to be receiving has bent the rules. They have cheated to get such a lop-sided game. They plan to stop the game until they win the toss and control the action once again.
Sound familiar? This is what the Republican Party has been doing. The first two years of Obama’s first term were mainly spent cleaning up Bush’s economic mess. The GOP’s strategies in the media (Talk Radio, Fox) and their shenanigans in the states with redistricting and ALEC allowed them to control the House.
Between 2010 and 2012 Republicans blocked Obama and, for all practical purposes brought our government to a standstill. They turned a strategy invented by Dennis Hastert into a rule in order to block legislation in the House and they used the filibuster to block bills in the Senate. In 2012 their gerrymandering, their propaganda, their billionaires, and their control over state governments allowed them to gain a majority in both the House and the Senate.
Federal judges were overwhelmingly Conservative and this Conservative Congress blocked most Liberal court nominations. The Supreme Court was a bit less skewed, but still tended towards the right.
The fact that a party can skew the courts on purpose was known, but never used in such a bold fashion. This ability to stop government in order to keep your party in power forever is a terrible loophole in our Constitution, exploited by the very party that vows undying love for the Constitution as written. If we can’t find some way to fix this loophole and keep such a sneaky coup from happening then our government, as we know it, may dissolve. The GOP has hollowed out the US Constitution.
I don’t want us to forget this as we head into this election. We never experienced the full measure of Obama’s agenda. We will never know what would have happened to the American economy if Obama got to carry out his policies. Republicans kept American from being able to test out the approaches that Democrats wanted to use to engender growth. What if we had said yes to a bit of liberal spending instead of the GOP’s hypocritical austerity (after all the GOP crashed the economy to begin with)? We have experienced the most hobbled version of Obama’s agenda imaginable.
The GOP used up Obama’s time and our tax dollars voting to overturn the Affordable Care Act over 60 times, voting to defund Planned Parenthood again and again (which is not even possible without getting rid of Medicaid), taking food stamps away from poor people, and shutting down the government. They would not allow infrastructure spending, they invited Netanyahu to address Congress (Obama was not welcome), 47 senators signed a letter to the leaders of Iran in an attempt to undermine Obama’s hard-fought negotiations,
Please remember these things when you go to the polls in November. We got to look at Obama’s nice face, but we hardly saw any of his policies put into effect. For eight years we have been following the Republican agenda. We don’t need to elect them to see what their America will be like. I think we would be feeling more prosperous if they had not blocked Obama and the left and I think we need to have a do-over without the obstruction.
Turn the Senate around, elect another Democratic President and actually let the left lead for at least the next four years and I believe that you will see America return to good fiscal health and remain, for the most part, at peace with a chaotic and changing world. If you believe that the past eight years represent the outcomes of a liberal agenda, widely applied as policy, then you are misguided and you have been misled on purpose. Stop watching Fox News.
By Nancy Brisson