When I was in college, I loved the comedian Gallagher. One night while watching him, just before he took out the Sledge-O-Matic and began smashing watermelons, he said “If pro is the opposite of con, does that mean Congress is the opposite of progress?” I thought that was hilarious and have remembered it for 20+ years. Now I don’t think it’s that hilarious. I think he may have been right.
I’ve been watching this anti-Obamacare crazy process play out since Day 1 of the government shutdown with a variety of emotions – amazement, anger, dismay, fascination and horror. I am a really busy person and I don’t usually watch the news that much but I’ve been glued to the TV since it started. I can’t seem to pull myself away.
At first I was perplexed and I guess a little naïve. I thought no way would people who were voted in to run our country be so irresponsible as to let the government actually shut down for any length of time. Really? Then as I watched it play out I became disheartened. I admit I don’t do well with lack of reason. I can interact with any reasonable person and I love to debate even political topics but when people start talking crazy I kind of shut down. I know that politics can be complicated and it has its games. I get that, but the depths of grotesqueness to which politicians would go to avoid responsibility for their actions and to play with people’s lives left me feeling pretty disgusted.
Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about and questions that keep coming to mind:
Question 1. Does anyone remember this little thing called the Democratic Process?
I was under the impression that the Democratic Process was a foundation of life in the United States. In fact, I agree that people have the right to disagree about the specifics of anything, which is part of the Democratic process. Although I lean pretty liberal myself, I’ve stood up for the Tea Party’s right to express their opinions because I understand that when people feel like government isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, the people feel that they need to take action. Even if the content of what they think isn’t in agreement with what I think, I respect their passion to move forward on what they believe in. I think it’s important for government to be a little shaken up every so often. But not SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY!
I thought everyone who completed 5th grade civics class knew the basics about how our government works. Now I’m starting to think I was delusional for believing that.
Here’s a quick refresher. There are 3 branches of government.
1. The legislative branch AKA Congress which can be further broken down into the House and the Senate.
2. The Executive Office AKA the President; and
3. The judicial branch AKA the Supreme Court.
When someone wants to make a new law, they introduce this little thing called a Bill. Ever heard of it? If you grew up when I did, just think of the SchoolHouse Rock song– “I am Just A Bill Stuck on Capitol Hill”. A bill can be introduced by a member of the house or the senate or the president or regular old folks like you and me. To become a law, it has to be approved by both the legislative branch and the executive branch. If it is approved by both of these branches it becomes a law. It can also be reviewed by the Supreme Court if someone thinks it is unconstitutional.
Sorry to disappoint those folks that either forgot about this or live in delusion land, but Obamacare already went through every step of this process. It was approved by the House and the Senate, signed by the President and even reviewed by the Supreme Court. Further, no one can say it wasn’t discussed ad nauseam as a cornerstone of the 2012 Presidential election. Romney and Obama discussed it A LOT at every presidential debate. And the American people as a whole voted for Obama as President. And he won by several percentage points. If the American people were super unhappy about the prospect of Obamacare, then they would not have voted for Obama as President. It has been being talked about since at least 2009. No one tried to sneak it through illegally.
It’s a law. Period. That’s life. Wake up whiny little Tea Pots. You lost!!! Please quit whining and do something productive like governing the country you were voted in to govern. If you have issues with the implementation of this law, that is quite all right. That’s what the political process is. The details of policies and how they are implemented are changed all the time. In fact, I would almost guarantee that some things about Obamacare will change as it is implemented because it’s an ongoing process. But there was nothing illegal or sinister about the way it was passed.
My contention with the democratic process is that the process itself is not negotiable. If you want something to change in the US government, you have to figure out ways to make it change within the framework of the process. This leads me to my second concern (which will be the topic of my next post, so come back soon!).