Consider third parties as relief from political monkey business
With the recent federal government shutdown, it is time to seriously consider electing third party candidates to public office. I don't care if the libertarians, reformists, democratic socialists, communists, conservatives, greens or any other party run. I just want to see some diversity and have a viable choice other than the two squabbling parties we have in Washington.
For the Democrats and Republicans, the fighting about the shutdown and the Affordable Care Act was just a political game to determine who would cave in first before they came together at the last minute to avoid the nation defaulting on its debts. Neither party cared about the financial effects their head-butting created for millions of American families — from worrying about paying for food without a paycheck to children not receiving what may have been their only daily nutritious meal provided by a Head Start program.
Surely the United States can do better. So many of our nation's allies in Europe copied the representative government our founders developed, yet these governments operate within a multi-party legislature, not the duopoly that has choked our legislative process. Now, more than ever, Americans must embrace the support of other political parties to ensure progress and cease relying upon only the Democrats and Republicans, whose fighting resembles that of two baboons struggling for the same peanut.
We the babysitters
Proposed: Congressional Day-Care, U.S. Constitution Amendment (Article No 27)
Section 1: All states of the United States shall provide one day-care provider, or playground monitor, to sit at the U.S. House of Representatives until such time as members of said chamber shall act like adults. Such provided individuals shall discipline Congress members by any means appropriate for correcting behaviors of three- to six-year-olds.
Section 2: As Congress shall be incapable to enforce this article, it shall take effect immediately.
Section 3: Providers under this article shall be immune from any punishment available under existing law for fulfilling their obligations under this article. Providers may also ignore Article 8 of the U.S. Constitution in regards to inflicting "cruel and unusual punishments."
Section 4: Providers shall be appointed by majority vote by citizens of each state where such voters can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are not currently, nor in the past 10 years have been, members of any political party.
What's in a name?
Years ago I attended hippie field parties where the wide range of people was always interesting. On a couple of occasions I engaged in lengthy discussions with self-described anarchists. I asked them to explain how the day-to-day operations would work. Whether it was garbage collection or road maintenance, the answer was always: "The people, man. The people will get together and work it out, man."
When I said you have just described the basic function of government, it fell on deaf ears. I was not surprised to learn that this small sample of the anarchist community were, without exception, the spoiled children of privilege. Their inexperience in the world of struggle had robbed them of empathy.
I remembered this watching the recent sad display in Washington D.C. and thought there needs to be a new descriptor for the extremist faction of the Tea Party.
At first glance, anarchist seems to fit, but their beliefs differ from the anarchists who were content to hang out by the keg smoking weed, looking for a ride back to their food service jobs. The Tea Party extremists seem to want the full benefit of a federal government (wages, health care, etc.) while eliminating benefits for everyone else. They seem to want a society in which the "job creators" leave behind the less able, less educated and others "not able to compete." What do you call someone who wants to destroy the part of government that benefits anyone but him and his contributors?
Tea Party pivot does not fool
Rep. Andy Barr insults the intelligence of his constituency. For months, he and his Tea Party cronies threatened the full faith and credit of the United States over Obamacare. They implied that health care reform was the worst law since the Alien and Sedition Acts and would lead to the collapse of the republic into a smoldering heap.
It dawned on the far-right radicals by early October that the public wanted no part of this reckless brinkmanship. But, of course, Tea Partiers like Barr had already laid down their markers. So they made a quick pivot: they said that refusal to raise the debt ceiling wasn't about Obamacare, it was about "spending reform."
In other words, these radicals said they didn't want the administration to pay the bills it had authorized because the congressional budget added to our debt. Huh?
Does Barr think we didn't notice his political posturing and that we're stupid?
Barr a leader
A recent letter to the editor demanded that Rep. Andy Barr "chart his own course." I call on the writer to remove the political lens obstructing his objectivity and take an honest look at the course Barr is charting.
Let's begin with the Live by the Laws You Write Act. Barr has championed this legislation, despite resistance from D.C. elites. This act requires Congress, the president, and his cabinet to abide by the same laws as every other citizen. What is so unreasonable about that?
Speaking of charting his own course, Barr's top priority has been to spend as much time with his constituents as possible. When was the last time you had a congressman who held office hours in every county of the 6th District every month? When was the last time you had a congressman who continually held town hall meetings and routinely fielded questions from constituents during tele-town hall meetings? I can tell you that no congressman in recent memory has done this, yet Barr charted his own course and made this a reality.
Barr is giving a voice to the people of Kentucky's 6th District and he is making a valiant effort to be as available to his constituents as possible. Barr is charting his own course, and it is a course that gives a voice to common citizens like myself. It is time that more elected officials follow Barr's lead.
Barr sailing into black hole
The "Party of No" has become the "Party of Oh, No." First-term Rep. Andy Barr remained on the deck of his sinking ship, alongside his captain, first-term Sen. Ted Cruz from Calgary, Texas, as it sailed off the edge of their Flat Earth, mere hours shy of a completely unnecessary fiscal catastrophe. Nixon's CREEP was bad (Watergate); Reagan's private Central American wars (Iran-Contra) were definitely not cool; W's invasion of the wrong country (Hey, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, let's invade Mexico!), well, bless his heart.
But the incredibly arrogant and irresponsible behavior of today's Republican Party, and of Barr and Sen. Rand Paul in particular, poses far more danger to America than all previous Republican (or Democratic) scandals of the last century.
They stumbled their way into the Great Depression, but this near-miss was on purpose. Too bad nobody knows what that purpose was. Thanks to Standard and Poor's, we at least know what it cost, $24 billion.
Barr can comfort himself in his next job that he "did the right thing" while hard-working Americans bit their nails. It looks as though the Old Party will keep punting its responsibilities through next year, an election year. Remember next November.
(Does Ted Cruz remind anyone else of that huckster Mister Haney from Green Acres?)
Rand Paul a danger
My worst fears about Rand Paul have materialized. He and his kind have misconstrued their popularity within the Tea Party as the power to circumvent the popular opinion of the majority and to rule by ransom.
Paul proved his ignorance and stupidity beyond doubt with his declaration that failure to raise the debt ceiling would not be economic suicide. This man needs to be stopped. Call his office and tell him to close his ignorant mouth, take a back seat where all junior legislators belong and learn something about responsible governance before he leads us into further ruin.