It’s the end of August. Some schools are back in session as Summer draws to a close. Vacation time is ending or will soon be ending for families. Relaxation time is over. However, there is a great deal of work needing to be done as one thing is looming on the horizon that can affect everyone, Election Day. I know, I know, the last thing you want to hear is someone else bashing candidates while stumping for theirs. I do not plan to do that. However, before you cheer too loudly or even think of walking away from this bog post, please hear me out.
This Election Day is very important to the future of the United States, probably more so than most as there are problems that are occurring and have occurred over the last few years that still need fixed or at least have significant action taken upon them. Yet, if you paid any attention at all, then you will see that the current state of affairs in our nation’s capital is not working to make or even attempt to make the changes needed to help our county move forward. One party in particular, with its sub-party faction, has held the United States hostage. It has even threatened to shut down as well as literally shut down our government.
Before you get in a fuss and say that shutting down the federal government is not such a bad thing, please allow for a couple of questions from me to you for your pondering pleasure.
1. Do you like to drive on smoothly paved and otherwise well-maintained highways?
2. Do you like knowing the soldiers and sailors are paid?
3. Do you like knowing that the veterans who have returned from combat are receiving the care they need?
4. Do you like it that those receiving Social Security and/or Medicare/Medicaid due to age or illness are receiving their checks in order to survive?
5. Do you like visiting national parks?
6. Do you have children who attend college or university and receive student loans or grants-in-aid?
7. Do you like knowing our borders are secure?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you should not be so happy about the possibility of a federal government shutdown because these things do not operate at full capacity or at all if the federal government shuts down. I know for a fact that the US Border Patrol worked without pay during the last government shutdown. That hurt their families, but it also hurt our economy.
The United States Government employs over 4.4 million people, including those in the Armed Forces, but not the approximately 66,000 who work in the legislative branch and the federal courts. Add to that the millions of corporations who hold government contracts and the workers they employ. When the US government shuts down, the US essentially shuts down. People who are not working do not spend or at least do not spend anything additional than for the basics of life. This hurts the economy to the point where those not working for the federal government also lose their jobs. Just think about last year’s government shutdown and what it did to the economy. Heck, just think about what it may have done to you or someone you know that was detrimental to their lives.
I bring this up because, in spite of what individuals in Congress have said to the contrary, they are prepared to do this again to get their own way (at the taxpayers expense)if they win enough seats in Congress. It is already bad enough that the House of Representatives is filled with a majority of those who were responsible for the last government shutdown, but they want both houses of Congress so that they can shut it down again.
We, the people of the United States of America, cannot allow that to happen. We cannot.
However, it likely will happen if the Republicans and their Tea Party sub-faction win a majority. They have said as much as recent as last week when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky suggested that if the Republicans win a majority in the Senate, then they would threaten and likely shut down the government once again to get their own way (http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/08/21/3474287/senate-candidate-reiterates-support-for-shutting-down-the-government/).
The last government shutdown, according to ThinkProgress, “reduced economic output by 0.25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and cost about 120,000 private sector jobs in the first two weeks of October”(http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/08/21/3474287/senate-candidate-reiterates-support-for-shutting-down-the-government/).
In this same article, it states that “McConnell told reporters that the country could expect more shutdowns in the future, pledging to attach a host of Republican policy priorities to must-pass spending bills if the GOP takes back the senate in November”(http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/08/21/3474287/senate-candidate-reiterates-support-for-shutting-down-the-government/).
The only way this can happen is if Democratic voters and those allied with them do not get out and vote. America needs to have more truly progressive minded people in office if it is to prosper. The economy is on the mend, another shutdown could jeopardize that and drag our country back to where it was before with high unemployment and the disasters that accompany it.
One problem with getting out Democrats to vote is the recent passing of state laws requiring identification to vote that goes beyond the basics. These so-called voter fraud prevention laws have been enacted to actually cause more fraud to occur in the form of those being denied their right to vote even if they voted otherwise for decades. Do a search of those denied to vote in last year’s elections and possibly even primaries and see how this is affecting an American’s right to vote.
If you are reading this and are a Democrat (or Green, or anything except tried and true GOP), please work to get out the vote. Unless the Democratic candidate is truly worse than those opposing him or her, vote for them. Heck, vote for them any way. A bad Democrat is still better than a “good” Republican. Seriously though, get out the vote. Tell your kids to vote, absentee if they must. We cannot allow our country to be mired in the same crap that it has faced in the last couple of years. Even if you do not like Obama or his policies (and even I disagree with some of them), vote for a Democrat unless you have a strong candidate that can win from another party (Green, particularly).
We must take America back from the corporate greed that is the driving financial backing of the GOP/Tea Party candidates. The Koch Brothers and their allies should not be the ones in control of our future. We, the People of the United States of America, should be in charge of our future and, frankly, Democrats are the answer to helping that to occur.