Reckoning in Congress

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

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Steven Sanders

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King has never been one to mince words. Over the weekend he charged that some of his fellow Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives were behaving like “political terrorists” and literally threatening to damage the United States and our economy if they cannot get their way in delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare.”

Representative King has hit the nail on the head.

A small group of right wing and Tea Party affiliated Republicans in Congress have shut down the federal government and could possibly devalue the credit worthiness of the U.S. dollar if they cannot achieve by threats and extortion what they failed to win by legislation and that is to derail the new health care law which they loathe. It is hard to know whether they hate the law or despise the President more, but that is what they are doing.

Don’t get me wrong, any member of Congress or any citizen for that matter has every right to oppose a policy they disagree with and they have every right to dislike anyone that they choose. However, what is terribly disturbing and destructive is that after having lost their fight against Obamacare in the votes in Congress and in the vote from the last Presidential election, and after the law was upheld by the United State Supreme Court, these right wing militants have decided to put the entire United States economy in jeopardy lest the President and the majority of the House and the Senate give in to their extortion. This brand of extreme politics and blind “no compromise ideology” is common in the Middle East, but it is something new to American political discourse. It is fundamentalism practiced in a three-piece suit.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) had been no profile in courage. Fearing a revolt within the ranks of his Republican House conference by a relatively small but loud number of his Conservative members, he has decided against responsible leadership and instead delivers the ransom note himself and let the country and the constitution be damned. In exchange he will retain the power of his position as Speaker… at least until the next congressional elections when the public will have a chance to comment, through their votes, on the behavior of this Congress.

Back in the 19th century there was for a brief period of time a political movement known as the “Know Nothing Party.” They were persons virulently opposed to new American inhabitants not born in this country, and they were decidedly racist. They considered themselves to be contrarians, opposed to political compromise and the mandating of federal programs onto individual states. They eventually faded into the political dustbin of history. Today’s incarnation is found within the ranks of the Tea Party. These were some of the same people consumed by President Obama’s birth certificate. They oppose immigration and particularly immigration from non-European countries. They distain nearly any government mandate, and most particularly they oppose virtually anything that their perceived archenemy, President Obama, is for. They take their pleasure in seeing the President fail.

However should the government be shut down for any length of time because of their tantrums, should the government be unable to pay its bills and its debts for the first time, the damage that they will cause this republic and our economic underpinnings will be only second to those caused from the attacks by foreign terrorists known to us as Al-Qaeda.

The actions of these self-described American “patriots” of the Tea Party and their political surrogates in Congress are wantonly and selfishly destructive. Self-inflicted wounds are often times the most deadly.

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