The decision of Congress not to make a decision — purely for political purposes — on funding the federal government has resulted in a shutdown.
If the congressional leadership (a term that’s sadly become an oxymoron) on both sides of the aisle believe this game of political chicken will cause the people to rise up and rally to their cause they are mistaken. The public has simply become numb to the incalcitrant politics of the hard right and hard left. To most, this is just a stupid food fight.
It’s now the second day of the standoff between Senate Democrats and House Republicans and all that’s been accomplished has been to irritate a vast majority of Americans.
Frankly, the only folks happy about the nonsense going on at the Capitol are comedians and late-night TV hosts such as David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel.
“Midnight tonight is the deadline for Congress to pass their budget for the year,” O’Brien quipped on Monday. “And if they don’t, things shut down — which is bad because we need to keep the government working so they can continue to not do things on our behalf.”
Yet, good jokes aside, not much good is coming from this shutdown.
At the center of the dispute is the House Republicans disdain for the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) that went into effect Tuesday. Republicans contend they won’t approve the budget unless Democrats agree to delay implementation for one year.
Whether ones likes or hates Obamacare, the time for debate was before it was approved into law. Demanding a change after the fact is petulant.
The approval rate of Congress has dipped to 10 percent, which is said to make our lawmakers less popular than root canals and colonoscopies.
Unfortunately, this standoff has taken on a life of its own and neither side can back down without losing face. Hubris — illustrated as “Pride goeth before a fall” in the Bible — could ultimately take down the nation.
The current shutdown at this point has not brought about havoc. The stock market has not plunged in the wake of the shutdown.
Still, it’s early. And not far down the road is another partisan showdown over raising the nation’s debt limit so the bills can be paid.
Folks on Wall Street fear the economy will tank if the United States has to default on its debts and its credit rating plummets.
The fight in Washington, D.C., cannot be won by either side. End it now before we all get hurt.