Shutdown

…because nothing screams dysfunctional quite like ceasing to function entirely…

what a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal and fallacious!  Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend.”

~ George Washington, letter to John Jay, 01 August 1786

______________________________________________________________________

So here we are again, facing yet another showdown on our nation’s finances.  It seems like we can’t even go a full year anymore without hitting a debt ceiling or going over a fiscal cliff!  This time is even better because the entire government may in fact shut down and not just parts of it via sequester.  Exciting times.  Let’s set aside the fact that Congress has been completely unable to produce a complete budget in years, and instead focus on their inability to even pass continuing appropriations for right now.  I mean, really?  A fully funded and fully functional federal government is essentially their entire reason for existence.  In fact, we dropped the Articles of Confederation for the Constitution over the exact same type of issues (except then it was the various states failing to meet their commitments and not the Congressional representatives abjectly failing at life).  I’m going to have to re-state my continued confusion as to why we re-          elect people who cannot even figure out how to perform their most basic duties.  Please, dear Readers, at least consider voting during the next round of elections. Congress is up for election even when the President is not.  But that aside, why on earth do we accept a government that can’t even function?  Because the Founders certainly didn’t!  That’s the reason we have the Constitution at all.

Let’s face reality here, folks.  Washington was right.  If our government isn’t working, what kind of message does that send?  We galavant around the world, advocating the glories of democracy, sometimes even imposing our system on other nations, and look at us!  Our elected officials can’t even think their way out of a paper bag (or in this case, out of whatever fiscal crisis comes next in the never-ending series of crises).  How can we possibly claim democracy is better than a petty dictatorship when we can’t even keep the lights turned on.  And that doesn’t even begin to touch the security concerns of a government mostly shut down and still on sequester that does have enemies waiting for a lull to be able to lash out.  For the Founders, they had Europe to worry about, we have terrorists.  Either way, appearing weak and ineffective still poses the same problems that it did over two centuries ago.  What does it take to keep ourselves from repeating the exact same mistakes over and over?  When do we start actually implementing wise measures instead of just more of the same?

 

Res Publica

 

Documentation without Representation:

George Washington, letter to John Jay, 01 August 1786 (emphasis added)

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch5s11.html

Electronic Text Courtesy of The University of Chicago Press

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