The politics of obfuscation

I have a love/hate relationship with politics. I enjoy the subtleties, and can appreciate a politician for his skills even when I disagree with his policies. I’ve been actively involved in politics for forty years, starting with working on a campaign for a county seat my friend’s mother was running for. Lately it’s gotten far too depressing in America.

Much of the population seems more vested in an ideology than any idea. Obamacare is defended because it belongs to Obama, not because it will actually benefit anyone. People who it is hurting find ways to spin a defense of the act. People who it will not affect attack it endlessly.

The Obamacare bill passed without being read. Blind support of a new regime. So many people were against it that Republicans replaced many Democrats in congress. So many that the Republicans took control of the House of representatives, and nearly have the Senate. Now that the “people have spoken”, it’s a war, not a Democracy.

Since the only way to slow it down was to cause a “government shutdown” (the seventeenth time since 1980), the fingers started furiously pointing at who was to blame, beginning with the predicted horrors of a “government shutdown”. Oh, don’t worry, any real incentive to reach a compromise, such as suspending pay for members of congress until they could agree on a budget, was never an option.

Although the threat of a shutdown is designed to inspire fear among those that depend on government, all it really does is point out how little we depend on the government, and what a farce the entire charade is. The Washington mall, a collection of statues and monuments, was barricaded. The dozen or so park rangers who worked as guides were laid off, and replaced by police guarding the mall. Expense of maintaining the mall, zero. Money saved by replacing park rangers with federal police, zero. Newsworthiness of barricaded monuments, priceless.

A list of important services that came to a halt was published. While I do agree that shutting off the Panda Cam may cause some hardship, it’s a camera. It costs the same whether the switch is in the on or off position. The Mars rover? A lie. The rover is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech. It is operated by a multinational team, and members of the University staff. Neither is funded by the Federal government. Less than five Federal employees were affected, the Rover keeps on roving. National Parks were closed. Fees from visitors ceased, the trees kept growing, the rocks didn’t even notice. Bills to reopen the parks were voted down by Democrats, who accused the Republicans of being unwilling to negotiate.

Who might be affected? Recipients of welfare may find that they’re less important than keeping congresspersons checks on time. Given enough time, money may run out for them. But we don’t do anything on time, there’s always a last minute solution. We got through Obama’s first five years without a budget, but now of course it’s the Republican’s fault. Even Obamacare is now being blamed on Republicans, because twenty years ago a conservative non-profit organization suggested a similar plan, which was rejected by Democrats and Republicans.

Negotiations were offered, but the administration refused to even discuss them. But the Republicans are blamed for not negotiating.

Belgium got by for over a year without a government. Meanwhile, the rhetoric here compares government programs with the voluntary purchase of luxury items. Yes, that’s the point. It is a voluntary purchase to fund government programs.

I’m going to miss American politics. I’m not going to miss American politicians. I won’t be able to understand the subtleties of a foreign government, which will put me in the same place as countless Americans who are arguing about Washington. The difference is, I don’t talk about things I don’t know about. I’ll have to find a new subject to fill the odd blog, because I don’t want to stand up and shout about my ignorance. In fact, talking about the ignorance of my countrymen is getting exhausting. I joined a conversation the other day about the servers failing on the first day of Obamacare. The comments were based on how it was the Republicans fault, since they had denied funding of server upgrades in Red states. Never mind that it’s a Federal server and that the outages were predominantly in Blue states.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve corrected (and been asked to leave) conservative groups when they spread false information. The thing is, two group admins actually thanked me for providing correct information, no liberal group ever has. Liberals do tend to be better at spelling, or at least they’re clever enough to use spell check. I’ve had to tell conservatives that I only think I agree with them, I couldn’t decipher their writing.

We are Red or Blue. There will continue to be problems until we are Red White and Blue. But where can we vent our anger if we spend our energy on getting along? Oh, maybe we won’t have any anger to vent. That’s worth investigating.




3 comments on “The politics of obfuscation

  1. Mari Collier says:

    I like the idea of all being red, white, and blue again. This whole shut down thing is absurd. Someone didn’t think it out. What they wanted to shut down is rolling merrily along with people signing up for the Affordable Care Act. The rest of the economy is suffering with nearly a million people furloughed or in some cases, laid off. What were they thinking?


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