Thursday, October 24, 2013

Herding Angry Cats

Herding Angry Cats
Tony E Dillon-Hansen
October 2013

The phrase “herding cats” is intended to reference ridiculous attempts to control a group of people that are simply unwilling or unable to be controlled. For me having a bundle of cuddling kitties in my arms sounds nice, but this statement is indicative of the not-so-cuddly or lovable (in fact, quite angry) TEA party during the recent Washington hysterics. They, like any Americans, have the desire for rights and the desire to freely express oneself. They may have these, but their singular perspective borders on insurgency. Their vision ignores basic truths in favor of branding their view as a cause and other cool-sounding rhetoric.

A cause is not always “just”, and sometimes, the “cause” is short-sighted and just plain selfish. Many of the TEA party believe they have a righteous cause, akin to saving Jesus from execution, and no matter who gets hurt and with no respect to any others, they will fight to have there voice heard because their cause is the only one that matters (not just a supposed superior one.) Their cause is one that is nostalgic and envisions America to look like the old southern plantations where people ought to live in their place, the colors do not mix, guns are always great, and public education distorts the values in society if not historical facts. Diversity is foreign to this ideal and a threat to their American way of life. Further, this vision of America wants government out of people's lives, unless those people desire something different than the nostalgia. Anything that threatens the view should be squashed. Thus, people raised in this point of view are sadly mistaken when they find the rest of the world does not operate in this boxed view of the world. 

They have managed to get voted into office because of bloated and gridlocked government with the vision to restore the nation to a “cause”. Without consideration, they will stymy government to achieve this and have preferred dysfunction over governance. Dysfunctional government is destructive to the face and character of the United States. The Constitution asserts a slow moving government in order that policy be given proper consideration rather than rash irresponsibility. The Reagan mantra that “government is the problem”, by itself, is incorrect, but when a herd of angry cats run the government, the result can be a dangerous problem. Good government, in contrast, can be the assistant that enables growth of the whole society. Bad government is as bad as having rogue companies ruin our environment, hording resources, denying people legitimate claims, enslaving people to poverty, persecuting entire sects of the population, executing vigilante justice upon people via mobs, or hiding their intolerance and hatreds behind supposed religious texts..

Currently, Washington is dysfunctional government disabled by the loud few and those few want Washington to fail. To quote another president (Kennedy), “We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security to constitute maximum peril.” A weapon does not have to be a rocket or gun, but can be a tactic to impale the government from doing anything. The TEA party, primarily because of a couple policies they dislike, want to see Obama and the federal government fail. An organization that ultimately wishes to witness the failure of the government is being wildly reckless, threatening to economic security, undermining of global alliances that count upon our stability, and teetering upon insurrection against the very Constitution they supposedly uphold. That does represent a “sufficient challenge” to the nation's security.

Further, these people have been elected from districts that have been drawn to elect them and to keep them elected. They will not be held accountable to people from outside of their caucus given the gerrymandering that has entrenched their positions into power. Gerrymandering should be declared illegal since it inherently rejects review by the people over the Congress (explicit by the Constitution), and congressional districts should be designed along the parameters that the Iowa redistricting has to follow. Until then, these people will not be accountable to the whole of people but rather only to the select few that have been selected to vote for them.

Another complaint issued by the TEA party is how government spends money wastefully. Yet, they have installed themselves into power and then milk the public for a salary to do nothing even though they were supposedly elected to do something. Some contend that government policy should be based upon some cost-benefit style marketism. Ironically, things like accessible roads, airline safety, medical research, public education, science research, retirement, and such are considered too costly, that is if others might benefit more than they. Rights become part of a cost-benefit analysis now. Simply, the right thing to do is replaced by the cost-effective thing to do.

They are willing to promote big businesses, especially defense contractors, that give short-term benefit to no one else but their own business. This is an incongruous vision from the bigger concern about wasteful spending if the spending they desire is only beneficial for a few. If these people believe that government should give welfare to businesses and farmers then they should have no problem with the government helping individual citizens get better education, better health, or even a better standard of living. That is because when more people have discretionary  money, rather than just a few, then more businesses have opportunity to sell products and services yields more boats rising. Instead, they seem more focused upon building bombs than schools.

The actions by TEA party activists have made our country vulnerable and threaten the stability of this country. Their right-wing fanaticism is dangerous and if the current Congressional leadership or President cannot herd these cats, they all need to be shown the door as quick as possible.