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Gary Horton: Conservative Congress Betrays The Public Trust

Posted: October 2, 2013 7:34 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2013 7:34 p.m.

It’s likely that the most difficult period you’ve experienced in your life has been the Great Recession of 2007–2009 and the grindingly slow “recovery” thereafter.
Most middle-class folks lost 50 percent to 100 percent of their accumulated wealth, and many lost their health, their spouses or their careers.
This period of time should not be underestimated for its negative impact on the lives and the life trajectories of Americans. For folks of college age through “approaching retirement,” these years shocked and awed our lives in ways that could fill American Recovery Act-funded libraries to their ceilings with tens of millions of tragic tales.
We are simply not the same people we once were, and for many, their expectations for themselves and their families are permanently recalibrated downward.
This has been our Great Depression.
But finally, we’re now climbing out of that deep hole and just now really picking up the pieces, and you can see the progress far and wide. Construction is everywhere and businesses are hiring.
We’re healing, rather than fading. America is steadily coming back.
We’re adding jobs at the clip of about 175,000 a month. Most are seeing more light and feel more joy after a very dark, trying period of life.
With this epic playing in the background, our House of Representatives, increasingly recognized as the Betrayers of the Public Trust, purposefully and willfully “shut down” our government, and in doing so, knowingly laid off some 800,000 public employees.

That’s 800,000 furloughed workers, equaling the destruction of five months’ progress of our modest recovery. That 800,000 Americans will now, for no good purpose other than political gamesmanship, plunge into the same stress, suffering, uncertainty and family damage as we all did in the too recent Great Recession.

The callousness and thoughtlessness of Republican leaders making this public show of their “principles” is nearly unprecedented. They piously croon “This is about Obamacare” into broadcast cameras.

But clearly, if Obama’s success didn’t also represent public acceptance of the multi-cultural modernity he represents, this fight would not be happening.

With the defeat of all things Obama as the conservatives’ goal, the New America he reflects might be denied or delayed.

In this, any wedge issue would suffice as the faux incitation for these insurrections.

There is no high principle at work here. What we are witnessing is cynical political posturing over cultural biases at grave cost to nearly one million American families, with more pain on the way should this last more than a few days.

“Obamacare” is the straw horse whipped up to cover up the conservatives’ underlying motivations. Their boiled-down message is a “turn back the hands of time” agenda wherein the rich are unbridled and a slavish service to “free markets” leaves the rest of Americans to fend for themselves, particularly the minorities so much reflected in Obama’s countenance.

Their underlying message is “Those of less influence will accept working for less, will work without health care; and will ultimately work with an uncertain retirement — or we will wreck the economy to spite you.”

The Senate and President Obama made it clear they won’t negotiate with terrorists. They won’t deal with Congressmen with economic bombs strapped to their lobbyist-fed chests.

Rightfully so, because if Obama (or any president) deals with extortionist terms today, America will be subject to similar fringe group threats again and again.

Debt ceiling? Sure, it’s their way or they’ll ruin America’s credit and trash the stock market. More military spending? Absolutely, or we’ll take food stamps hostage.

Over and again we’d face an emboldened band of hostage takers.

Today, it’s the 800,000 innocent workers and families supplying services to our armed forces, public parks, veterans and such who are the hostages these congressional goons have lined up and shot.

These victims of baboon thought will lose their paychecks and security while the rest of us suffer the loss of the niceties of government, like Yellowstone and the Smithsonian and decent public services.

The very veterans we’re told to honor will wait longer for much needed services. Our economy will take a 1 percent GDP hit and your retirement funds will drop 5 percent to 10 percent.

All this for cynical political ploys of the well-lobbied-against Middle America.

This isn’t “political principles” we’re experiencing. It’s sedition against the functions of the government itself. This isn’t negotiation, it’s economic terrorism against you and me and those who are paid to serve us.

These aren’t leaders we’re watching; these are enemies of the public good.

And under their baboonish leadership, America is becoming much less principled and less like the America we once believed it could be.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.




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