By Wendy N. Powell, guest contributor
Twenty percent of the government may no longer be shut down, but the attempted “shutdown/smack down” of conservatism is alive and well. While watching media coverage of recent events in Washington, we must remember that America is still the home of the free, the brave, and the informed. People resort to whispering their conservative values to avoid being called racist, insane, arsonist, terrorist, and bomb strapping by people in very high places.
All Americans should be concerned. That is if they care about our choices and diversity of thought. Our country is built on the dearly held and fought for philosophy of freedom of speech and choice.
Personally demonizing conservative congressional representatives for doing their jobs has been deemed acceptable by the Executive Branch; representing the pulse of their constituents has been categorized as inappropriate. Is Washington saying, “Don’t do the job of representing the people in your districts?” Come along and be silent?
Conservatives are called selfish and racist if they don’t support Obamacare. Conversely, it is about a seriously ill-conceived law drawing bi-partisan concerns. Obamacare is the law of the land they say. Laws are created by Congress. But special subsidies and exemptions are somehow acceptable and approved by the executive branch for labor unions and lawmakers. We must realize, whether we agree with Obamacare or not, they simply don’t want it for themselves or their families, not wanting to eat the burger that is fed to the American public.
While most mainstream media have reported the refusal of conservatives to bend on the debt ceiling, budget, and the funding of Obamacare, they skipped the proposals that the House of Representatives sent to the Senate, flatly deep-sixed. We must remember that the Supremes categorized the Obamacare penalty as a “tax” in a bill that the House of Representatives is squarely responsible for determining funding.
The president holds the ball. He cannot or should not claim, “It’s my ball, and I’ll go home if I don’t get my way.” That is not what our American system dictates. This is a refusal to follow or acknowledge the common rules of negotiations by not respecting the conservative party across the table. Instead, demonizing and name calling conservatives is fair game, refusing to discuss concerns from different branches of government.
Obama told reporters Tuesday that he would not allow emergency funding because he wanted to keep the “political heat” on Republicans. Bring the pain. They either don’t realize or don’t care that they are harming Americans and polarizing with this rhetoric? Political points on the backs of conservative Americans?
Conservatives voted to reopen parks, fund cancer trials for children at the National Institutes of Health, and to keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Food and Drug Administration going through this partial shutdown. But Obama threatened vetoes. There was game playing to demonize Republicans, including suspension of death benefits to deceased soldiers’ families, yet approvals for riding bulls, funding PBS, and Sesame Street, and an immigration rally.
In an October 8 interview with CBS, “Of course I’m tempted” to sign those bills, Obama explained. “But here’s the problem. What you’ve seen are bills that come up wherever Republicans are feeling political pressure, they put a bill forward. And if there’s no political heat, if there’s no television story on it, then nothing happens.”
President Obama needs to realize that he represents all political parties in this country. Stop turning up the clear “political heat”, Mr. President. Realize that there are three branches of government for a reason, not just one. This is a job, not a political campaign. Perhaps Washington needs an emergency manager to assure that all parties are heard, not just one.
Mainstream media reported that the Republicans shut down the government. Many don’t realize that 83 percent of the government was up and running. But we must recognize problems with Obamacare, a law that is misunderstood, poorly communicated, and a manifestation of the “train wreck” that creator Democratic Senator Max Baucus predicted. And there is clear evidence that it was the president and staff that cherry picked and ordered the shutdown of government programs to make it most visible and painful.
On October 17, President Obama indicated, “This was a manufactured crisis.” Still politicizing, no compromise.
Do we need a mediator to address the common problems of negotiations in Washington? The position of president normally fulfills that role, but he has crossed over into drawing the proverbial line in the sand, demonizing, name calling, and ignoring the views of conservatives. That ship has sailed.
About the Author
Wendy N. Powell is the author of the critically acclaimed Management Experience Acquired: Necessary Skills for Successfully Managing Any Employee. Her book is now available on e-book sites. She has been featured on ABC, Fox, and NBC as well as talk radio as a management and career expert. Powell writes for a number of publications, including a column at The Huffington Post.