By Stan Welch
Well, the government shutdown continues, and so does the blame game. The president blames the Congress. The Congress blames the president. The House blames the Senate and the Senate blames the House. The Republicans blame the Democrats and the Democrats blame the Republicans.
In the back of my mind I can hear Sonny and Cher singing, “Ladadadadee, ladadadadie, and the beat goes on, and the beat goes on.” And it goes on because you and I aren’t willing to pay the price to stop it. Let’s quit blaming all these other people and examine ourselves, shall we?
Our national parks are closed, our national monuments barricaded against the very people they belong to. WWII veterans cannot visit the National Mall, but it is open for a march for immigration reform this Tuesday. A planned march of veterans next week hopes to draw a million veterans. I hope it draws ten million; and I hope they sweep any federal opposition before them like leaves before a storm wind.
People who have vacation homes within the boundaries of national lands, like the Lake Mead Recreational area in Nevada are being evicted from those homes until the shutdown is over. If I were one of those people I would answer my door with my twelve gauge and see just how determined those park rangers are to do their alleged duty.
The House continues to send piecemeal spending bills to the Senate to alleviate some of the impact of the shutdown, while the White House calls them terrorists and bomb throwers and arsonists. The White House is cynically and clearly trying to use the public opinion to attack the Tea Party and its more conservative members because they dare to demand something that the White House and the dollarbetics in Congress can’t stand to impose on themselves – some sort of fiscal restraint.
Coddled by an acquiescent and complicit corporate media, this administration is manipulating and orchestrating all its efforts to punish the American people for their own sins, as well as those of the Republicans. But the fault eventually settles on the shoulders of We the People, because we put up with it.
We want to blame individuals because they can be run out of office, and that is easier than acknowledging our own roles in the fiasco that has become America. We want to blame parties because they are easier targets. But the real truth is that we have lost our capacity for sacrifice. We are no longer willing to risk, much less lose, anything in order to reclaim our freedoms and restore our nation.
We don’t want to have to change the channel; or god forbid, actually put down the remote control and take action to address the state of our nation. We too often see our Founding Fathers as rather chubby men in waistcoats and powdered wigs, who wrote great words with goose quills and had buckles on their shoes.
What we tend to forget is that a great many of those men who signed the Declaration of Independence and who, just a decade or so later, crafted the Constitution, lost everything they owned as a result of their actions. More than a few of them died in poverty. Several died in prison. Family homes and fortunes were lost. Children died in battle and by other means.
And within forty years, we were once again at war with Great Britain as she tried to reclaim her colony. Again, much was lost, but more was gained. America secured her freedom and began her march towards being the greatest nation on the earth.
That claim does not ring so boldly or so proudly these days. It seems perhaps to simply be lip service, a mediocre mantra from the past instead of a battle cry for the future. But if that be proven true, and this nation slides beneath the waves of change, let us not blame our rulers, but ourselves.
It is not Obama’s fault that millions of our people think that being supported by the government is a legitimate and acceptable way of life; that we should benefit from labors not our own; that we are somehow owed something beyond freedom and opportunity.
It is our fault, however, that he ever came to power.