“On Shutting Down Government”
Let me see if I have this right. A couple of dozen radical Tea Party conservatives in the House of Representatives have brought our entire government to a standstill trying to stop a law, the Affordable Care Act that already passed the House of Representatives, a law that already passed the senate, that the president already signed and the Supreme Court considers constitutional?
There has got to be something more going on here. I mean, this is insane. Are they really disrupting our government over a done deal, an effort to make health care more accessible for the millions that don’t have it. I suppose I could just fall back on my experiences last summer in China, when as a visiting professor in Gansu province I lectured on the idea of democracy that so many of them crave.
But of course I was forced to explain that democracy is just a method of selection. That democracy in itself does not guarantee good government, wise leaders, capable of making wise choices.
Yes, sadly I reminded my Chinese audience that we elect idiots all the time. Though I am sure many had already noticed that. And yes democracy does have one fine feature. it does makes it easier to get rid of such people.
But as I told my large Chinese audience good government in itself does not come pre-packaged along with popularly elected leaders. But maybe I am just getting too conspiracy minded in my old age. Because over the last few days I can’t help wondering if something else is going on. Maybe our tea party congressional friends are more Machiavellian then they appear.
Maybe the issue is not whether they want everyone to have access to health care. Maybe it’s not because they can not accept the national vote from two different presidential elections that confirmed the decision to advance toward universal health care. Maybe the issue this week was not about Obama care at all, but the date—about the importance of distracting the easily distracted American electorate?
Because, I should remind my listeners that this week was long scheduled to be about something else -because this was the week when the planet’s scientific community was long scheduled to give the world an update on how drastically we have, with our rampant burning of fossil fuel upset the entire planetary heat balance making more extreme storms, Colorado like fires and floods, literally storms on steroids from Irene and Lee to Sandy more and more likely while devastating crops with searing heat in America’s heartland. And it makes sense. After all, those very same congressional republicans were just last week, holding what might be called the Denial Hearing, trying to convince themselves that the climate crisis was not real, an important task given how many of them are beholden to the very big money folks who got rich pushing fossil fuels.
No, maybe these congressional tea party types are just really cleaver, carrying out a conspiracy to keep Americans from noticing the new international scientific report on climate. Just maybe they are acting on a cynical ploy to distract the public from the necessity to back off from climate disrupting fossil fuels and toward greener energy sources with far greater urgency.
If that is so, they seem to have been wonderfully successful already. After all, by the time this mess is over, the American media, obsessed as it always is with today is hardly likely to turn back to .. “ah last week’s global scientific warning”
But maybe I am just too cynical. Maybe these tea party folks really don’t want everyone to have access to health care. Though I can’t help thinking that, given how great the impact is of climate change is on public health, all those unfamiliar diseases rushing toward us from the tropics made more welcome by rising temperatures. And all those new causalities caused by more powerful storms not forgetting the weakening of global nutritional needs as more and more crops fail we are going to need the affordable care act even more than ever.