Our View: Shutdown shows contempt for the democratic process
October 7, 2013
While this newspaper prides itself on treading a political line that balances all perspectives, we are dismayed to see what is taking place in Washington, D.C., and we feel compelled to tell our readers how we see it.
House Republicans are responsible for the shutdown that has had dire repercussions across the country — repercussions that have filtered into Nevada County.
To be clear, this is not an endorsement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act nor President Barack Obama's administration, nor the U.S. Senate. And make no mistake, this isn't a stance based in any political philosophy.
It is standing up for our system of government, the principles of democracy and urging constituents to make representatives feel the consequences of their misguided "governance."
Regardless of how you feel about it, the facts are that the Affordable Care Act passed through both houses of Congress in 2010 and was signed into law by the president. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in 2012. And Obama was re-elected that same year in a campaign that saw his opponents run on a promise to repeal "Obamacare."
House Republicans need to accept that the healthcare act, however flawed, is the law of the land, and holding the federal government's budget hostage to protest this law is a despicable political tactic that could set a dangerous precedent that undermines the very foundation of our democratic system of governance.
Meanwhile, many middle-class Americans are looking at layoffs and no income, although their bills will keep coming.
And yet, according to the Sacramento Bee, our congressional representative, Doug LaMalfa, will continue taking pay and maintain his full staff during a shutdown of government he helped create.
But it's not the first time we've seen LaMalfa take a "Do as I say, not as I do" approach.
As the Los Angeles Times reported in September, when LaMalfa joined the Republican majority in cutting $40 billion from the food stamp program over a 10-year period — reportedly throwing 4 million people off the rolls next year and 3 million more the following year — LaMalfa has collected $5.1 million in government crop subsidies from 1995 through 2012 for the farm he co-owns with family members.
"That didn't stop him from citing the Bible and his Christian faith in advocating a steep cut in food stamps," wrote the L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik.
Not only do LaMalfa and the House Republicans need to do the right thing to pass a clean spending bill and bring this political posturing to a universally welcomed conclusion, but their constituents — you — need to call on them to do so. (Contact information and website addresses are provided on these pages).
If the Affordable Care Act turns out to be as apocalyptically devastating as they forecast, we encourage the GOP to win elections and gain the necessary seats to repeal the law properly. Most of their Democratic peers operated this way when they were elected by the majority of U.S. voters on the premise that they would enact The Affordable Care Act — including the president, twice.
That is how it is done in this great nation, not by financial blackmail.
Our View represents the opinions of The Union editorial board, which is comprised of members of The Union staff, as well as informed members of the community.