We here in the US are now in the midst of the first real government shutdown in nearly 20 years. I experienced that one first hand as I was working as a contractor at the Office of the US Trade Representative in DC at that time. No, I was not considered essential so I did get a three-week vacation and yes I was a contractor so I did still get paid. However stupid this or that shutdown is/was the world continued function then and I’m pretty sure it will continue again this time.
Of course we all must remember that on October 17th the government will run out of the ability to borrow money and no matter what they do about the current impasse if the debt ceiling isn’t raised we’ll be closed for business again on the 17th.
None of this is the fault of the Democrats nor the Republicans. We can’t blame Congress or the White House. The blame of this mess rests solely on our shoulders. Yes, our shoulders, as in the citizens of the US. Those of us who through some action or inaction have caused the election of the current crop of politicians in Washington are at fault. We are now stuck until the next election living with what we have done to ourselves.
Unless and until both politicians and the general population learn and understand that there is no place in politics for politics we will be cyclically screwed. The founding Fathers designed our form of government (a representative democracy) as what they felt was the best workable form of government where the general population “felt” as if they were in charge without giving them the ability to hurt themselves. Now, that is all well and good when those elected act in the best interest of the majority that they represent, but first they must understand whom they do represent.
The House of Representatives is elected to represent the people’s interests and it should vote in a way that represents what is best for the majority of the population. Now you will notice I said, “what is in the best interest”, not “what they want”. There is a big difference between the two and in the form of government we use “what the people want” has no place. Congress is there to protect us from ourselves, else we would have had a true democracy where every person had a direct vote in all matters.
Also since the Senate is elected to represent the interests of the several States they need to concentrate on that and stop trying to decide what is best for the people. Why we ever had that stupid Amendment to change to a popular election of Senators I’ll never know (well, yes I do know, it’s all about money and power – neither of which have any place in governance).
We may not be able to sit back and enjoy this ride, but as a captive audience we need to hold tight and suffer it out. History does tell us that eventually we’ll get past the shutdown; that nothing will actually be better; and that we the people will just elect more politicians who would rather play politics than to govern.