In the long, hot Houston Summers of my youth, we would often kill time in our neighborhood by playing board games. There was one kid we never wanted to play with, but he always found a way to weasel his way into the game.
As long as he was winning, he was on his finest behavior and acted like everyone’s BFF. But when this boy fell behind, he would inevitably revert to making up lost ground by cheating. When it became clear that the game was hopelessly lost, he would throw a tantrum and claim the rules of the game were invalid – often declaring victory and storming away from the table.
If that obnoxious, self-righteous teenager were in today’s Congress he would be Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). It is usually unfair to disparage fellow Americans with which one disagrees as unpatriotic, but what we are witnessing in regards to the government shutdown is, well, unpatriotic. A few nihilists are even threatening to not raise the debt ceiling and inflict serious damage to the world economy if they don’t get their way.
These extremists hold their heads up high, clucking and strutting, through the corridors on Capitol Hill and admiring their vacuous visages on TV.However, like the impetuous boy at our board game, these are sore losers who have abandoned the rules and declared themselves winners long after it is clear that the game has ended.
In a remarkable fit of arrogance, they are taking aim at the Affordable Care Act and expecting Obama to chuck his signature achievement before the government reopens. The extortionists say that the President needs to compromise. However, Barack Obama already made major concessions during the legislative process – otherwise we’d have universal healthcare, which a large percentage of his political base wanted. The law was already challenged by opponents and upheld by the Supreme Court. The issue was debated ad nauseam during the election – which led to Obama drubbing Mitt Romney by more than 5 million votes.
These cynical obstructionists believe they are special and don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else. When they are in the majority, they gleefully ride the populist wave and speak for “the people.” However, when public opinion polls are not in their favor, they suddenly transform into religious royalists, believing their moral superiority gives them the right to rule the majority. Indeed, the beloved “people” are mere props in their mercurial power trip.
If Obama gives into the hostage takers – who are willing to decimate the economy to get their way – it will change the way America is governed. Traditionally, once a bill becomes law, it can’t be repealed until the government changes power and secures a clear majority. And, if a Congress passes a bill without a veto-proof majority, a president can scuttle it with the stroke of his pen. It’s called democracy, and it has kept this country stable for the better part of two centuries.
What these cranks are demanding is that individual House and Senate members have the right to essentially veto bills they don’t like, even after they are passed and signed into law, by threatening to harm vital national interests, such as the economy or national security. This would lead to an ungovernable system and ultimately to anarchy.
Maybe this is what these irrational zealots really want?
If you listen closely, they see conspiracies everywhere and, on some deep unconscious level, understand that the 1950’s Mayberry of their imaginations has vanished forever. There is no political fix in the current system to roll back the hands of time and return to an era where gay marriage did not exist and a black man could not be elected president.
In their paranoid and delusional minds, these politicians and their sycophants have had their country stolen by “foreign” invaders – such as gays, liberals, immigrants, and other minorities. If the political process can’t restore their wicked fantasies of an imaginary America, perhaps it is best, they believe, to upend the current administration, and return it, through force if necessary, to its rightful heirs.
This dark, siege mentality was neatly summed up by televangelist Rick Joyner, who called on God to consider a “military takeover” of America.According to the preacher:
“The people are not always right, it depends on what people they are. And another thing the founders warned about is this thing will only work for a moral and a religious people. You remove morality, you remove the religious influence, and it cannot work….I believe there are noble leaders in our military that love the republic and love everything we stand for. And they could seize the government.”
To such traitorous charlatans, God is an entity in their diseased minds conveniently used to rationalize seditious desires. What we are seeing in Washington is not business as usual – but unusual business that is undermining our nation.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”