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October 03, 2013 7:31 am

Political stalemate bound to end with latest train wreck

Written by Tom Lawrence

The so-called government shutdown that began at a minute after midnight Tuesday is just the latest example of a deeply divided America.

Frankly, the system is badly broken, so seeing it grind to a halt is no surprise.

A wide chasm between the Democratic and Republican parties is the reason for the shutdown. The two sides are so busy screaming at each other that they decline to close their mouths and listen. Without a constructive dialogue, compromise, the lifeblood of politics, cannot occur.

The House, controlled by Republicans who are being pushed and prodded by new, Tea Party-influenced members, caused this stalemate. They have to accept their primary responsibility.

Members of the GOP, especially those on the far right, are opposed to any and everything that President Barack Obama does.

That plays well in their bright-red districts, and protects them from primary challenges. But it doesn’t serve the nation, and that is to their lasting discredit.

However, Democrats, including Obama, helped cause this as well. Obama pushed for his signature health care reform package, dubbed Obamacare, and it passed in 2009 without a single GOP vote.

There seems to have been areas that could have been adjusted to at least gain a Republican vote or two in the Senate, but that didn’t happen. Is anyone surprised that the Republicans are drawing a line in the sand against a law they bitterly opposed then and now?

In addition, Obama seems intent on “winning” this battle, according to David Gergen, a veteran political operative who worked in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton administrations and now serves as a political analyst.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a feisty Democrat from Nevada who boxed as a young man, has added to the harsh partisan tone on Washington, D.C., as well. Reid and Senate Democrats think they have no reason to sit down and try to hammer out a deal with the GOP, showing how little they understand the art of politics.

While these politicians fiddle, the country burns in resentment.

The stalemate has resulted in the shutting down of non-essential government services such as national parks and monuments, as well as museums. That’s painful here in Wyoming, where more than 200,000 people are expected this month at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, as well as in the national forests that make this such an inviting place for tourists.

Many of our businesses, and their owners and employees, will pay the price for the political deadlock.

It’s not just gated parks, either. The National Institutes of Health is not accepting new patients for clinical research and has shut down a hotline that fields medical questions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not offering its flu prevention program and the CDC says its response to outbreak reports has been slowed.

People who rely on Department of Housing and Urban Development vouchers to cover their rent may find a hassle, thanks to this shutdown. There are other problems and pitfalls, and things will only get worse — possibly much, much worse — if this continues for a few weeks.

Ideally, politicians are sent to Washington to solve problems. The men and women who are there now seem to have forgotten that, and the country is suffering for their confusion.

2 comments

  • Comment Link October 03, 2013 11:43 am posted by Disgusted Taxpayer

    Both parties are to blame for this insane stupidity.They have had more than enough time to straighten out their differences,unless of course this all part of the master plan....

  • Comment Link October 06, 2013 5:52 pm posted by Salty Dawg

    The last time Amerika was deeply divided Vietnam was going on and those of us that had to participate in the war games there took the brunt of Amerika's wrath,except for draft dodgers like Cheney who were "fortunate sons".This time around,however,Amerikans can blame someone other than Vietnam vets,by looking in the mirror.

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