Some years ago, I worked on Capital Hill for the U.S. House of Representatives, in the office of an Iowa Congressman. This was right before I started the journey to becoming a minister. There were lots of good people on the Hill then. I used to have lunch with Joe Fischer, Congressman from Fairfax County, VA who previously was the moderator of the UUA. Many of the Hill staff were great, and it was clear that most of those in office did care about the welfare of the whole country. There were lots of big egos – more so on the Senate side – and a sense of moral superiority, but, on the whole, good people.
That is obviously no longer the case. All of the comments about a group in the House and how so very awful they have been of late are true. The cover of the New York Post said it best (you’ll have to look that up – this is a church blog). What gets me is the arrogance, not to mention stupidity of much of what is known as Tea Party leaders. Ted Cruz, who only seems to care about being noticed, idiots like Steve King of Iowa, Tim Huelskamp of Oklahoma, Michelle Bachman of Minnesota – they seem more interested in attention than in justice or compassion, or even common sense. Many who are holding our democracy hostage are climate change deniers, creationists. I mean, really. When reality does not affect you, anything is possible.
They lie constantly. Calling the Affordable Care Act a failure when it has not enough gone into effect, claiming that the House has done its job – this is just nonsense. Either they are really so dumb they don’t understand what they are saying, or they have no sense of truth.
Of course, it will be the poor and disadvantaged who will be hurt most. Cut back Food Stamps, limit Head Start? Who are these people? Nancy Pelosi – who was an excellent Speaker of the House – was late to a meeting recently and gave as a reason “We were busy taking food out of the mouths of babies.”
Is there something wrong with providing more people with health care? Something wrong with providing unemployment benefits in a struggling economy? Something wrong with food assistance to those who go hungry? Something wrong with making it easier to vote? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” What happened to that? Justice, equity and compassion? I see little of that.
The Firesign Theater had a comedy album titled “We’re All Bozos on this Bus.” The trouble is now that too many of the bozos are in the driver’s seat. Too many of the bozos have power. For bozos they are, and we can only hope that they don’t actually wreck our country, because if they get their way, a wreckage is what is ahead.
I am really angry and disgusted. This is not Democrat versus Republican, or even liberal versus conservative. This is about political bullies and how we respond. I am just so angry.
Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson