John Adams, the hard-nosed framer of the Massachusetts Constitution, which became the model for the U.S. Constitution, once heralded our achievement as creating a nation of laws rather than a nation of men. He envisioned a republic released from the tyranny of brute strength and the cult of personality in favor of one that gives all men a voice to shape the affairs of state and them abide by them.
His ideal was tarnished in his own lifetime; after George Washington stepped down the country descended into a carnival of politics to which he was ill suited. After a single term as President, Adams lost to his politically savvy nemesis, Thomas Jefferson.
Still, the antics John Adams persevered are nothing compared to the wanton disregard for our nations principles now on display. This morning’s NY Times had complementary headlines that each tarnished our nation’s principles, and together highlight the magnitude of our fall from reason. Apparently a group of conservatives (read rich, old, white men) have plotted for months to shutdown the government if they could not get their way with Obamacare. Forget that Obamacare is official law, forget that the Supreme Court upheld it’s major provisions, forget that the people reelected the President who made it the cornerstone of his first term. Forget even that funding for Obamacare is independent of the budget that shut us down. A bunch of rich old guys don’t like it and so 800,000 people get furloughed as a result.
The second headline is about two raids we made in foreign countries during a week when, in theory, we are out of business. This makes me realize that the definition of ‘essential personal’ is really, do you carry a gun. The people who provide social service, food, housing, and education are non-essential while pretty much everyone with a weapon is still roaming the earth, further diminishing our nation’s principles.
Every one of has to deal with laws we don’t like. Many of us don’t like Obamacare. But like it or not it’s the law, and the way to change the law is not by shutting our government down. Since Obamacare haters have been unable to overturn it through legislation, the courts, or an election cycle, they have taken the law into their own hands and shut us down. Shame on them. And shame on any elected official who capitulates the their shenanigans. (Are you listening Mr. Boehner?) Open our government back up for business again.