After reading Eric Alterman’s article in The Nation, I think I’ve been influenced by those calling for face-saving gestures from the Democrats. Such gestures are necessary, they say, so the Republicans will let the government carry on its routine business.
In any relationship, face-saving politeness is cause for concern–both for those who find themselves being excessively polite, as well as for those on the receiving end of the politeness. Politeness toward those responsible for the government shutdown begins to look like the behavior reserved for an abusive spouse. It’s based on fear.
If we want to discuss negative tendencies in government, we’d eventually have to include both parties. However, theoretically, the government is us. Fear has no useful purpose in it. Still, it is increasingly difficult to police the government, mostly due to the role of corporate money. And corporate money favors the Republican Party. You would think they would be more worried when even large amounts of money are not enough, and hostage-taking becomes necessary.
But let’s assume for a moment that the Republicans have a point when they say the President won’t negotiate with them any other way. Ignoring the fact that Affordable Care is the law the next questions ought to be, do Republicans have a better answer to the medical crisis, and do they really care whether the poor have healthcare? Apparently not, judging from their rhetoric and previous legislation.
Alterman is right…we should forget about the face-saving. New memo to the Republicans: Open the government and extend the debt limit.
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