CHRIS BEDELL
Columnist

As sad as it might seem, I’m really not surprised by the government shutdown since the cold hard truth is that the government of our country has been dysfunctional for a long time.

But one thing that isn’t right about the government shutdown is how Congress is still getting paid. That just doesn’t seem fair.

The larger issue that echoes throughout the government shutdown is how the United States is in poor fiscal shape, because at this point, it really is embarrassing how the deficit continues to carry on, and it is just par for the course.

It truly is a shame that the Republicans and Democrats cannot find a way to work together in Congress. Instead, they are playing the same partisan politics games. And while the Democrats are far from perfect, the Republicans deserve the blame for a lot of our country’s problems.

First, it is the Republican Party that continues to wage a war on women. The government simply has no business involving itself in women’s matters since they are trying to make it more difficult for women to get abortions.

Second is their voter suppression effort. It is truly disgusting how the Republicans want to disenfranchise the young, elderly and minorities simply because a good amount of them might be inclined to vote Democrat. It really doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is no voter fraud problem. In reality, it is a self-manufactured problem that was created by the Republican Party. I guess if they can’t win on the issues then they have to resort to other less honorable tactics.

Third, the two wars that were paid for on credit just weren’t right either. Especially Iraq because, although at this point it might be overly discussed, America should never have gone into Iraq. Our country isn’t better off and, if anything, is worse off fiscally. And while it is important to respect the troops, the Bush administration’s tactics were wrong.

Fourth, it is also important to consider the Tea Party. Everyone may be entitled to their opinion, but the Tea Party has been bringing down our country for a while. It was just abysmal how some Americans acted impulsively in the 2010 midterm election and voted in the Tea Party candidates, since the Tea Party is just a smokescreen for special interests as a result of the fact that the wealthy are trying to get the poor and middle class to do their own bidding.

But what is truly sad is that those people who aren’t rich, yet voted for the Tea Party anyway, didn’t realize that they were voting against their best interests. People shouldn’t be told who to vote for, but the Tea Party has done nothing good for country. If they have ideas about what could be done differently, fine, but they shouldn’t behave like spoiled brats. And yes I said spoiled brats. That isn’t name-calling. It’s the truth. The Tea Party members are obstructionists pure and simple. At this point they are beyond self-destructive.

Finally, there’s the issue of the Affordable Care Act, known also as “Obamacare.” Is it perfect? Of course not, but at least Obama attempted to address important medical issues.

For instance, no one should ever be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition since that is clearly a discriminatory practice. And it is also good that adult children will be covered under their parents’ insurance longer.

Additionally, the student debt crisis is a big issue. While student loans might make or break a person’s college opportunity it is just ghastly how expensive higher education is, and it just isn’t right that people have to swallow a bitter pill and sign their life away on loans. College might be important, but if a person is forced to take out a lot in student loans, it can be compared to making a deal with the Devil.

But it would be nice if Obama would start calling The Tea Party and other obstructionist Republicans out on their nonsense. Don’t forget, it was not that long ago that the Tea Party played a game of chicken with Obama over the debt ceiling. And if that doesn’t convince Americans that The Tea Party is unpatriotic, despite the fact that they masquerade as being patriotic, then I don’t know what will.

However, the issues that I have just mentioned are only some of the issues that our country faces. At the end of the day politics is an exhausting process since it appears that Congress is broken. And you know what? It is broken.

The reality is that while Congress might occasionally pass good legislation there is a romanticized version of what government is supposed to be and it is much prettier than the actual picture.

But even with all that, Americans should not despair since the old mantra “you might have lost the battle but you can still win the war” applies. Just because something might be difficult, it doesn’t mean that isn’t worth fighting for.

So the Tea Party and other Republicans can criticize Obama all they want, but then they should also discuss George W. Bush’s complicity in driving our country in the wrong direction. I mean Bush’s presidency has been over for a long time but it really was disgusting how his blunders were just swept under rug and he was able to run out the clock and avoid the lion’s share of the blame.

But enough is enough. While the circus might be amusing for little kids, I am not laughing at the circus in Washington, D.C. and neither should the rest of America.

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