Seven hours and counting before we are faced with a possible government shutdown. My blood is boiling —- not over our need to severely cut our abusive spending practices, but over the injustice, inequality and petty politicking involved in this debate. And yes, the trifecta of entitlements, Medicaid, Medicare and social security must be part of the cutting process.
On one hand, the expectation that furloughed federal workers should get paid for the time they might be laid off is ridiculous. In a country such as ours where we are reeling from accumulated debt, why would we pay workers for NOT working? Federal layoffs are an occupational hazard. All of us, in whatever career paths we have chosen, face occupational hazards. Live with it. When President Reagan’s funeral was held in D.C., federal workers were given the day off, mostly due to traffic and other logistical problems. Reasonable. But the decision to pay them was absurd. No work, no pay.
On the other hand, workers who actually continue to work during shutdowns should get paid. Why then, does this discrepancy exist: Congressmen will get paid, but our troops, after about a week, will not? Such magnificent lip service is given to our troops because they put their lives on the line every day. What a crock of garbage. How can our Congressmen allot paychecks to themselves while they withhold our soldiers’ wages? Actions speak louder than words.
The issue that infuriates me the most is the GOP’s intention to hold budgetary matters hostage to social ideology. The Democrats and the Republicans have already agreed to the historic $38 billion in cuts to the budget. Even though agreements were reached a few times before today, the GOP would then go back to the table and renege, raising the bar even higher. Their overall goal is NOT to cut spending. Rather, it is to obstruct any progress for this administration specifically, and any solutions for our country generally.
Finally, the debate has come down to this: the GOP will agree to current negotiation if abortions for low-income women in D.C. are banned and if all funding is withdrawn from Planned Parenthood. What the hell do these social issues have to do with balancing a budget? Absolutely nothing. The GOP is holding hostage my health and reproductive rights to their culture wars. This time I am livid. I beg my President not to fall for such base tactics. This time, I refuse to be the sacrificial lamb for political compromise.
Plus, and correct me if I am wrong, abortion was declared legal by the Supreme Court decades ago. Why has that right for poor women been denied? A law is a law and should apply across all socioeconomic classes. If abortion was deemed legal, why is it not available to those on government assistance? Is there a separate set of laws for the rich and another for the poor? It sure looks that way. Moreover, to come down on the District of Columbia, the only area in the country that pays its fair share of taxes yet has no full representation in Congress, is a pathetic move by the GOP. They are going after the “weakest sister.” What does their attempt to slam D.C., which is considered just another federal agency in the budget wars, a constituency that is totally loyal to the Democratic party (that’s your answer) and has no power in our halls of federal government, say about the state of the GOP’s real power? Not much. To attack the weakest link is pathetic. Take the time to watch this video of D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, in all of her reasonable outrage, over this inequitable situation:
For those women who are past their reproductive years and are more willing to, for the sake of compromise and avoiding a government shutdown, give up these important gender and health care rights, I say “Shame on you.” If they cannot see beyond their own existence, if they choose to ignore the rights of their younger sisters, I warn them to hold on to their hats. The larger principles need to be considered because sooner or later, the revocation of personal rights based on gender is going to come around and bite them right in their own blessed asses. Their readiness to surrender their rights simply because they have no more use for personal reproductive issues is just as self-serving as the GOP’s blasting of social programs for those in need. Be careful: what goes around, comes around.
I urge Mr. Boehner to quit the charade of pretending that this budget battle is about spending, as he so states. The fiscal items have been agreed upon already. It is the same old social issues for which the GOP is holding out, stomping on abortion rights and equality for those with less money and clout. Stop the spin and lies. The intentional confusion between equal rights for women and budgetary issues is totally transparent.
To my President Obama, I beg of you not to sell out the rights of women for an agreement on the budget impasse. This time, I may have to hold that against you. If you choose to offer up your own personal rights to effect a budget agreement, please feel free to do so. However, DO NOT use MY gender rights and those of all American women for political gain. Do not sell me down the road for the supposedly more important special interests and political gain. I AM a special interest, very near and dear to my own heart.
Seven hours left. The powers that be may cause a government shutdown. That is their prerogative. What is not their privilege is to sanction the denial of my rights, guaranteed by the same Constitution that rules all Americans, regardless of class, gender, race, and religion. I can “out GOP” the GOP any day of the week.
Tags: budget impasse, Eleanor Holmes Norton, furloughed workers should not get paid, GOP's use of social blackmail to pass budget, John Boehner's spin on the budget fight, paychecks for our Congressmen, paychecks for our troops, taxation without representation, Washington D.C. considered a federal agency in budget wars