Where I come from, if you don’t do the job you’ve been hired to perform, you lose it. And when I say “do your job,” I do not mean that all functions and responsibilities are executed to perfection. We’re human and we fail, and there’s something admirable about the occasional stumble when one’s very best is given. It’s good for the soul. Mistakes keep us grounded.
There is however nothing to admire in the simple and cowardly refusal to fulfill one’s duties, be the inertia the result of laziness or entitlement. And though the phenomenon is nothing new among the Republican members of Congress, it is a pattern growing more common and profound. There are so many challenges the country faces, so many issues afforded a shrinking window of decision: climate change, immigration reform, gun control, pervasive and extended joblessness, the growing income divide between the top few percent and everyone else, aging infrastructure, the rising costs of food, fuel and especially education.
Candidate Obama asked Americans in 2008, and again in 2012, exactly what kind of nation we want to be. I was under the impression that We the People had answered by voting in favor of the President and his agenda by wide margins – on both occasions. As recently as the 2013 State of the Union Address, our leader reminded the American people of their most important focus after the derailment of the Bush years: “Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”
I am tired of pretending that both political parties try to respond to this urgent, commonsense call to action. And even if I wanted to continue indulging the fantasy, I need only turn on the TV or go online to be reminded that the current Republican leadership (not the dwindling minority of old school G.O.P.ers with whom compromise in service of the nation’s future was once possible), just isn’t interested in anything else besides looting the treasury, environment and human condition for personal gain.
Two front page headlines digital version of The New York Times, told the story:
The first piece, by writer Andrew Rosenthal, is a gallows humor primer for preventing the passage of any and all legislation. It’s inspired by a “recent Pew Poll, [where] 80 percent of respondents said the president and Republican leaders were not working together to address important issues — and, by a two-to-one margin, said the G.O.P. was more to blame for gridlock.”
The second post, from Robert B. Semple Jr. Reports that, “Moments before a scheduled vote on Thursday on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced a boycott. One result was to delay her confirmation…The other result was to make the Republicans look not only vindictive but supremely childish.”
To return to my opening statement: in the real world, a place that our right wing legislators appear to have left permanently, this complete dereliction of duty leads to termination. That, my friends of all political stripes (because I simply refuse to believe that a majority of conservatives condone this approach), is what elections are designed to address. If you really love America, if you’re a true patriot, join me at the ballot box in 2014 to repudiate this torpor. Let the majority finally hog tie the dangerous, extreme, reckless minority that we’ve allowed to take control.