Quick and painful

ImageA few quick notes on the government shutdown which has just taken place, in no particular order:

1. I’m always a bit chagrined about being right.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, I was and am in favor of Medicare-for-all as a health care solution for the U.S.  Barack Obama clearly was not, and was quite willing to go to the wall not against the Republicans to pass his plan, but against progressive Democrats in removing the “public option”.  The loyalist Dems who supported anything Obama said or did – quite a few – painted that as a necessary step in order to secure Republican support.  The GOP, they attempted to reason, was far too obstructionist, and only those who were politically “naive”, like the Greens, would think they could just push something through without their approval.  Even after gaining zero Republican votes from either house in passage, which should have negated that argument, they continued to triumphantly celebrate the obviously superior political skills of their nominally liberal President.  All part of the plan, we were assured…the necessary stepping stone on the way to single-payer.

So, how’s that working for you now?  Think that if Medicare-for-all had passed, the Republicans would be more opposed?

A bit of advice from this poor, naive Green: next time you have to go through Hell, don’t bother hitting the rest stops.

2. As much of a problem the Democrats have been regarding health care, this particular problem is not of their making, and it probably isn’t even possible for them to fix.  This is an internal struggle of the GOP and the wildly radicalized populist portion of its base…and it isn’t clear to me what the short term plays are going to be by its main players.

3. In a way, I have some sympathy for the Tea Party.  They too are being labeled as extremist and naive when demanding improvements from their government, and as an article of faith, I try to never think the worst of those becoming activists no matter what the cause, provided it is from the heart (as opposed to the pocketbook).  At its core, I believe some of that still exists.  There are a few major differences, though…as opposed to leftist movements such as the Greens and Occupy, who quickly and correctly shunned the Democrats as insincere opportunists, the Tea Party succumbed very early and very quickly to the lure of very well-placed men with lots of money and very, very few scruples, and were swiftly co-opted.  Also as opposed to leftists, there is in the Tea Party movement a basic meanness: an anger that consumes them and becomes their overriding characteristic.  Sure, the Left has had its anarchist bomb-throwers, but they’re not as numerous, and seem to have a goal of something socially greater.  The Tea Partier seems to lack a human conception of people unlike him; there is not merely contempt for those corrupting a good society, but a complete denial of any sort of greater society, fueled by simple anger and hate of “the other”.  It comes out in uncomprehending, explosive violence…and an animal mentality.

4. The GOP House members pushing this shutdown are doing so as a goal in itself.  They have no incentive to compromise and no real conception (as above) of why it might be needed.  What we’ve seen tonight is the opening gambit of a secessionist movement.  Either they will conquer the GOP, or the U.S., or they will break from it.  There are no compromises which may be accepted.  To accept one is defeat, and cements “the other” as the enemy, in a very real sense.

5. In actuality, if the voting system was reasonable, we would see there are four “parties” in the U.S.  The Tea Party is one of two blocs within the GOP; the Libertarians (corporate-friendly but socially very liberal) are another.  Progressives, at the left and far left, constitute a third.  The remaining Republicans and Democrats constitute a broad Corporatist Party, which exercises most of the power at this point.  They differ from the Libertarian tendency in that they are quite willing to fuse government with corporate power and exercise control over the people for the betterment of capitalist enterprise.

Again, there’ll be more later.  I’ll likely have the time.

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