Through the rabbit hole

So, for the second time in 17 years, Republicans—in a fit of pique—have shut down the government.

No, Barack Obama didn't shut down the government. Funding government operations is the basic function of a Congress. Defunding, then delaying, then delaying the individual mandate of Obamacare has nothing to do with the budget. Obamacare is already fully paid for and brings down the deficit. Demanding that Obamacare be done away with as a price for not shutting down the government is similar to Newt Gingrich shutting down the government in 1995 because he had to ride at the back of Air Force One. One has nothing to do with the other.

At this point we have to ask: what will it take for our fellow citizens to wake up?

This has all come about because too many on the "left" didn't see change happening fast enough, and decided to sit out in 2010. This has all come about because too many Obama voters from 2008 thought they had done their job, and the 2010 midterms didn't matter. This has all come about because too many of our fellow citizens don't take responsibility for their own agency, think that voting once every four years is the sum of their civic duty, and expect others to fight their battles for them while they lift not a finger.

This has all come about because Ed Schultz, a man with a megaphone, and others like him told Democratic voters to stay home in 2010 to teach Democrats a lesson for not loading up the ACA with ponies and candy.

This has all come about because one of the two major political parties has descended into a mania not seen in Western civilization since the Jacobins in revolutionary France stocked up on guillotines. The fact that President Obama has not only stymied their own cherished aspirations, but has continually succeeded in getting his programs enacted in the face of their opposition, has driven them to a dark place.

This has all come about because too many Americans reward ignorance and fear, rather than hope and intelligence. In no sane society should Louis Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann have any positions of responsibility. In no sane society should John Boehner be third in line to the Presidential succession. In no sane society should that viper Eric Cantor dictate what bills get to the House floor. Which makes me question whether we're in a sane society.

This has all come about because people hear what they want to hear from Barack Obama. They hear "hope", but don't hear "work". Hoping without acting is mere wishful thinking. A hope without the work to make that hope a reality is a mere fantasy. Obama never ended his campaign speeches by saying "I am the change you seek", but by saying "YOU are the change you seek." People just hear "change" and get gooey and go home and think everything will magically fall into their laps. They fundamentally misunderstand Obama's message, and thus we are where we are today.

Yes, yes, polling is showing that people support the President, that the GOP is getting most of the blame for this travesty. But will those people turn out in their millions in 2014 and put paid to the notion of gerrymandering? Will they vote in the numbers in which they voted in 2008 and 2012, sending the black guy to the White House twice? Will they donate, volunteer, buttonhole friends and relatives? Telling a pollster you think Republicans are reprehensible miscreants is all fine and well; if you don't vote them out, they're just nice words.

Is this what it will finally take to wake up this country? A political party holding the economy hostage because in 2009 a law extending health coverage to the uninsured passed? Because 30 million uninsured are worth less than the donations Republicans get from the Koch brothers? Because a party's animus towards one man is so great that it's willing to bring the world down upon our ears, as an enraged Samson amongst the Philistines?

I'll admit it: right now I'm beyond jaundiced. All of this was so avoidable. But, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Americans do the right thing, after exhausting all the wrong choices. Let's hope 2014 is a case of that.