The outrageous US government shutdown of 2013

(Rather than picking a single news story or even set of news stories, as I normally do, I refer my readers who need background info to the Wikipedia article covering the US government shutdown. There have been so many news stories covering some facet of the event that it is difficult at best to even pick a representative sample.)

Welcome to the United States of America in 2013 October. Democracy as we knew it prior to this month is effectively dead, as the Republicans in the House of Representatives have turned our government into an absolute mockery of what it should be and what it has been.

Outrage barely begins to describe how I feel. The only reason I’ve been able to remain somewhat calm is that I have other things that have been occupying some of my time, whether it be paying work, miscellaneous personal matters, or football. The last of those isn’t much of a diversion when the team one’s following (in my case, the Houston Texans) is in the middle of one of the worst losing streaks in its short history, but that’s another rant for another day.

It’s an outrage because, at least in the beginning, the shutdown was about the Affordable Care Act (which the conservatives and, unfortunately, most news media have nicknamed “Obamacare”). The act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. It’s the law and the proper way to deal with latent shortcomings in the law is to amend the law the same way other laws are amended. Instead, the Republicans have resorted to hostage tactics, shutting down most of the federal government. I am convinced this was and is illegal according to 18 USC 2384 (seditious conspiracy). A petition on has been started (which I have already signed) which alleges exactly this.

The courts may find in the end that 18 USC 2384 doesn’t apply or has not been broken. Or, the perpetrators may find a way to avoid prosecution (“money talks, bull poo-poo walks”). But a lack of legal prosecution should not mean that those who have shut down our government should get away with it. We, the people, have the right and the duty to hold them accountable during next year’s (2014) elections.

Yes, I realize it has taken a while for me to get around to writing this post. I had honestly hoped to comment about the shutdown in past tense. I still love America, but that does not necessarily mean I love everything done in the name of our country by our government. I’m disgusted that the same political party which has run up a huge tab fighting unnecessary and possibly illegal wars now refuses to pay for them.

My message to Congress: This is not the time for over-sized egos to rule. The people elected you to serve them and run our government. You swore or affirmed to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Shutting down the government and leaving it to default on its debts is a most egregious failure to do both. It’s that simple.